Advent Bible Study

A Guide to Bible Study Methods Found in Scripture

  • Bible Study Books in Print

    Collection of books with Bible Stories and examples showing how to study scripture.

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    Advent Bible Study online eBook Store

  • Stories on the Gospel of Matthew now available as eBooks

    Short stories on the life and ministry of Jesus

    This Ebook series on Matthew contains more than 100 stories about the people Jesus ministered to as a set of downloads at a modest price.

  • Understanding Parables According To The Gospel Of Mark

    Jesus explains how to understand parables

    This book explains how Jesus taught simple lessons so His disciples could understand all parables and scripture with simple lessons a child can understand.

  • Jesus Teaches About Relationships

    There is a difference between a worldly relationship and one made in Heaven.

    Learn what Jesus taught about relationships established in Eden

  • Understanding the Hebrew Messiah

    The Gospel of Luke

    A book based on Luke's Gospel showing the work of God's Spirit in Jesus' ministry.

  • John Chapters 1-10 eBook

    An in depth look at Jesus' ministry from John's Gospel

    Learn how Jesus followed God's Spirit throughout His ministry.

  • The Tabernacle “T” is for The Cross

  • The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Genesis 1 to Exodus 27

    The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Genesis 1 to Exodus 27

    Series of books on the Tabernacle, its construction, the services and priesthood.

  • Prophecies Fulfilled Genesis to Deuteronomy and Joshua to Chronicles

    It makes sense to learn about the prophecies fulfilled before trying to figure out those still in the future.

    Understanding Prophecies Fulfilled is the key to understanding all prophecy. Stories, studies and study methods explained.

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  • The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary

    A new verse by verse look at the Tabernacle

    1st in a new series of books looking at the Tabernacle just as Moses recorded the details.

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Introduction to Advent Bible Study

Posted by adventbiblestudy on September 10, 2008


Jesus teaches parables sower

Jesus teaches how to understand all parables. I was excited to find this study method recorded in Mark’s Gospel and had to write a book showing how Jesus explained each step in a series of lessons following the parable of the sower. Now you have it. Proof from the Bible simple study rules do exist. Locked away in God’s Word…. all you need is the right key.

One of the comments I often hear about Seventh-day Adventists is that they know their Bibles. But how well do we know the Bible? I was told the following story by a very close and dear friend who saved my life. You see, he is the one that taught me how to study the Bible.

I felt a deep need to study the Bible. I went from pastor to pastor asking if they could show me how to study the Bible? Sadly none of them could show me how to study. The only thing any of them could do is share a set of printed Bible studies. This was not enough to satisfy the fire I had inside of me. I searched book after book on Bible study. None of them offered any type of help. The desire of my life was not being fulfilled.Eventually my friend began to notice a pattern emerging from the writings of Ellen White. I have also discovered these patterns. One of the details that sets Ellen White’s writing apart is her use of metaphors. She uses a lot of them and there is a reason for that. Like many others I believe God wanted to guarantee this information would not be forgotten. Ellen White preserved these metaphors within her books for generations to come. God knew that as distractions increased, the Bible would be laid aside. Ellen White’s books do not take the place of the Bible nor add to the Bible but help to teach us how to gain a deeper understanding of it’s parables and prophesies.Ellen White explained many of these metaphors such as, “The parable of the unfruitful tree represented God’s dealings with the Jewish nation.” (CG 27) and “The foul leaven of idolatry, thus brought into the church, continued its baleful work.” (GC 43)

Unfruitful tree = Jewish nation

leaven = idolatry

The more you read Ellen White the more you will notice these patterns emerge. At times she will include the Bible text where these metaphors are found.

It was Christ that had brought Israel as a goodly vine out of Egypt. Psalm 80:8. His own hand had cast out the heathen before it. (GC 19)They had been seeking the knowledge of God more than all hid treasures, counting it “better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.” Proverbs 3:14. And the Lord revealed to them the great things of the kingdom. “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant.” Psalm 25:14. (GC 312)

Vine = Israel

Hidden treasure, gold , silver = Knowledge of God

How can these metaphors be used? These metaphors can be used to explain verses in the Bible that may be difficult to understand. Following is an example of a word study.

KJV Ezekiel 17:24

24. And all the trees of the field shall know that I the Lord have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the Lord have spoken and have done it.

What is God talking about here? Is there a reason God is referring to trees? What do these trees represent? To find the answer you need to look up other verses in the Bible that use the word tree.

KJV Isaiah 61:3

3. To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

KJV Psalms 37:35

35. I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.

KJV Psalms 52:8

8. But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.

The Bible tells us a tree is used as a metaphor for people. Now that we have learned that a tree can represent a person we can rewrite the text to see if it agrees with the context and teachings of the Bible.

And all the people (trees) of the field shall know that I the Lord have brought down the high people (tree), have exalted the low people (tree), have dried up the green people (tree), and have made the dry people (tree) to flourish: I the Lord have spoken and have done it.

There are other examples and detailed steps on how to use this method of study on the Seven Steps to Doing Your Own Bible Studies link.

This is the same type of Bible study uses and taught by William Miller. More information can be found under the link William Miller.

In her writings Ellen White quotes William Miller’s Rules of Interpretation.

Those who are engaged in proclaiming the third angel’s message are searching the Scriptures upon the same plan that Father Miller adopted. In the little book entitled “Views of the Prophecies and Prophetic Chronology,” Father Miller gives the following simple but intelligent and important rules for Bible study and interpretation:– {RH, November 25, 1884 par. 23}

“1. Every word must have its proper bearing on the subject presented in the Bible; 2. All Scripture is necessary, and may be understood by diligent application and study; 3. Nothing revealed in Scripture can or will be hid from those who ask in faith, not wavering; 4. To understand doctrine, bring all the scriptures together on the subject you wish to know, then let every word have its proper influence; and if you can form your theory without a contradiction, you cannot be in error; 5. Scripture must be its own expositor, since it is a rule of itself. If I depend on a teacher to expound to me, and he should guess at its meaning, or desire to have it so on account of his sectarian creed, or to be thought wise, then his guessing, desire, creed, or wisdom is my rule, and not the Bible.” {RH, November 25, 1884 par. 24}

The above is a portion of these rules; and in our study of the Bible we shall all do well to heed the principles set forth. {RH, November 25, 1884 par. 25}

The early Adventists used word studies to prove doctrine and establish fundamental beliefs. Other evidence is covered in other sections of this site including examples from books written by early Adventists. Word studies are indeed the lost jewels in William Miller’s dream.

This site is dedicated to collecting and providing evidence of the use of word studies by early Adventist. More importantly this site has been established to teach you how to use this method of study to enhance your relationship with God.

KJV John 21:2525. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

KJV 1 Corinthians 2:10-16

10. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

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David and the Ark

Posted by adventbiblestudy on November 26, 2016


David Finds How to Carry the Ark

1 Chronicles 15:11-15 NLTse (11) Then David summoned the priests, Zadok and Abiathar, and these Levite leaders: Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab. (12) He said to them, “You are the leaders of the Levite families. You must purify yourselves and all your fellow Levites, so you can bring the Ark of the LORD, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. (13) Because you Levites did not carry the Ark the first time, the anger of the LORD our God burst out against us. We failed to ask God how to move it properly.” (14) So the priests and the Levites purified themselves in order to bring the Ark of the LORD, the God of Israel, to Jerusalem. (15) Then the Levites carried the Ark of God on their shoulders with its carrying poles, just as the LORD had instructed Moses.

There is no doubt who ordered the Ark’s next move. The author repeated that detail to draw our attention to the fact, David gave the order. There was no account of the pillar of fire, or the cloud leading the way. No one recorded any command from God. No prophet showed up to tell David to move the Ark. It appears moving the Ark to Jerusalem was David’s idea.

We have to keep this in order. There was a two step process to move the Ark inside the temple. Solomon built the temple, then moved the Ark from David’s tent into the temple. There is also a two step process recorded here. David only moved the Ark so far on his first attempt. David went to Baalah of Judah to bring the Ark to Jerusalem on a new cart. Uzzah touched the Ark and died. David left the Ark at the house of Obed-edom of in Gath, where the Ark remained for three months. During that time King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar timber, and stonemasons and carpenters to build a palace. And David realized that the LORD had confirmed him as king over Israel and had greatly blessed his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel. Then David married more wives in Jerusalem, and they had more sons and daughters. (1 Chronicles 14:1-3 NLTse).

While David waited to move the Ark into his tent in Jerusalem, a number of things happened. David started a number of building projects. David married more women, and king Hiram sent messages and materials to David.

At that time Tyre was the major port and trade city of the Middle East. Tyre was the trading capital of the world. If David could reach Hiram and tell him about God, who knows what doors could have been opened? What about those wives David married? With so many wives, how was David going to be the priest of his family? Every time David married another woman, and had more children, his effectiveness as the priest in the family diminished. We have a spiritual clue to that part of the story when the author told us where God decided to stop the Ark. But when they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the Ark. (1 Chronicles 13:9 NLTse). A threshing floor has a spiritual connection to harvesting this world.

We can’t go too far into interpreting symbols in this story, but we can consider how those symbols draw us deeper into small details used to tell the story. A proper study on this subject would include gathering all the parts of this story scattered in other books in the Bible. Here we are only taking a quick look at an overview of this story and how it relates to the temple, and reflects back on the Tabernacle.

If we were to look at all the times the Ark was moved, we would find out how God told Moses to follow a specific process. The fact Moses recorded that process shows, Moses spoke with God before moving the Ark, and every time the Ark was moved, it was at God’s command. David had to find that process before he built up enough courage to attempt a second move.

Collecting all the data on the Ark’s moves would lead us to Solomon’s dedication of the temple. We know the Ark was eventually moved inside the stone temple. The end of 2 Kings showed how Babylon invaded Israel, then took all the items out of the temple, and eventually burnt it down. How much did the Ark protect the temple? The Ark didn’t even protect the Tabernacle. No one knows what happened to the Tabernacle. Eventually the Ark wound up missing. Everything was gone. Only the descriptions recorded by Moses survived. We have to ask why.

It seems every book I’ve read on the Tabernacle include the temple, weaving them together in a way that made them appear as one of the same. Other books neglected to look at the process, one followed the other. They also applied the designs of one to the other, assuming the people who built the temple looked at, and possibly followed plans Moses recorded. But the Bible doesn’t contain any evidence to support such theories.

We do find a strange mixture of customs included in the design of the temple, as well as many articles in the courtyard. Some of those items had close ties with Egypt, the land Solomon’s first wife was from.

Here we are studying the order information was recorded, and how those stories are related. Why did God record those stories in the order we find them in scripture today? The conquest of Jerusalem with the temple treasures carried to Babylon, followed by a short mention of Solomon’s connection to the temple, then the priests returning from Babylon to Jerusalem, and finally, David moving the Ark to Jerusalem. This is a strange order. One we need a lot of time to examine.

At least we learned one thing from the order of those events. We learned how scripture sends us to other books with a little different view of the events. We learned how scripture teaches us how to study scripture in a way many people miss, or don’t want to pay attention to. Like David, they want to find an easier way to study. Wasn’t moving the Ark with a cart and oxen easier than carrying it? Wasn’t a new cart pointing to a new and easier way of studying scripture we often hear people boast about? Symbols can be very useful in studying scripture, but they will never be a substitute for God’s Spirit. We can’t say, this symbol means this, or that symbol tells us that, without spending a lot of time on those stories, and time at the foot of God’s throne.

We know someone had to look back in scripture to find the answer David needed. Isn’t that a clue telling us what the spiritual meaning of this story is, or at least a part of it? What kind of students would we be if we only wanted to look at parts of the story that interested us? Wouldn’t we be as self centered as the author told us David was?

What do we get when we look at David ordering the priests to purify themselves? What about David? What did he do to purify himself? Was David’s job complete when he pitched a new tent in Jerusalem for the Ark? Did David really pitch that tent, or did he command other people to do it for him?

We see a series of events containing questions we can now look in the mirror to ask ourselves, do I do the same thing? Do I come up with ideas to serve God, then tell other people what to do instead of setting the example they need? In a way it seems David was a little unsure about his plan. Instead of taking chances, he put other people in charge, giving them the responsibility in case anything went wrong, but having a door open to take all the credit in case everything worked out okay. Is that a plan you tend to follow?

What about looking in the mirror to see if you were the one to study a subject, or did you plan on having other people open scripture, find the answer, then fill you in on major details? If that your preferred method of studying scripture? This story is full of tough questions to ask yourself.

What about telling the priests to purify themselves? Look in the mirror and ask yourself if you do the same thing. Do you expect people to purify themselves, break habits, eat, drink, dress, and worship in a certain way while you take an easier path in life? Do you think you purified yourself by telling other people what to do, while you have no idea what God needs to work on in your life? Is that imagine in the mirror complete before you take your own brand of purification out to the world?

For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. (James 1:23-27 NLTse).

Too often we forget the all important steps in Bible Study. Look at the physical aspects of the story. Learn to pray about the story, giving the Spirit time to sit down and teach you aspects you never understood or saw before. Gather all the information on the subject, such as other accounts of the story in scripture. Look at the events leading into the story as well as the results in later chapters. Once you see the physical aspects, look at how those details apply to your life. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions. Make a list of what questions to ask. A close connection with God’s Spirit is vital at this stage. He will know how to point out conditions in your life you never knew existed. When you think you’re ready to take a message out to the world, wait. Don’t jump the gun. The personal message God gave to you is not a one size fits all, this will fix the world’s problems type of message. Don’t take a personal message, tinker with it a little bit, then think you have something new. God’s message is like a glass ornament. You start hammering on it, and it has no choice but to break.

The author told us David asked one question, how to carry the Ark. Nothing about when or where to carry the Ark. That looks a little like the laws of the prophets where a prophet has to tell people how they talked to God, what the message was, and often where and when. Where do we get when asking only part, of a question, other than part of the answer? This is another issue to take to that mirror.

The priests took orders from David. It seems the priests carried out those orders without question. That brings up another question to ask yourself. Do you accept information, or orders from people without questioning if that was their role, what authority they have, or where their information came from?

It seems the deeper we look into any story, the more questions are presented. That’s how the Spirit works. Most of the questions center around self examination. You have to work with the Spirit to find those questions, and continue to work with the Spirit to find the answers. That’s just how the Spirit works. When Bible Study is nothing more than gathering material to support a preconceived answer, that is not really Bible Study. Using the Bible to produce evidence to support man made ideas is a lot like moving the Ark without God’s permission. What little is taken out of scripture and placed into made made concepts is like taking the Ark out of the environment God designed, then trying to figure out what the Ark really represents.

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The Items Inside the Tabernacle

Posted by adventbiblestudy on November 22, 2016


Chapter 10 The Items Inside the Tabernacle

Exodus 37:1-9 NLTse Next Bezalel made the Ark of acacia wood–a sacred chest 45 inches long, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches high. (2) He overlaid it inside and outside with pure gold, and he ran a molding of gold all around it. (3) He cast four gold rings and attached them to its four feet, two rings on each side. (4) Then he made poles from acacia wood and overlaid them with gold. (5) He inserted the poles into the rings at the sides of the Ark to carry it. (6) Then he made the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement–from pure gold. It was 45 inches long and 27 inches wide. (7) He made two cherubim from hammered gold and placed them on the two ends of the atonement cover. (8) He molded the cherubim on each end of the atonement cover, making it all of one piece of gold. (9) The cherubim faced each other and looked down on the atonement cover. With their wings spread above it, they protected it.

After passing by a number of texts telling us, Bezalel build this item and that item, and how he had help, I had to sit down and pray about this one. Why did Moses repeat details about the Tabernacle? There had to be a reason. A spiritual reason.

I had to pray about that for more than a week. Here is the lesson. We have to wait for the right time for God to answer. What better time to explain this detail than while we are looking at the description of the Ark. How much more personal and direct could this be? The answer was so simple and surprising.

To understand, all we need to do is compare the two events Moses recorded and look at the differences. We’ve already seen the similarities in a previous chapter. Now it’s time to look at the differences.

The first time, God explained all the details to Moses while he was on God’s mountain. God personally explained all the details to Moses who recorded them exactly as he was directed. This brings to mind a few verses in Isaiah. In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s house will be the highest of all– the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship. People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For the LORD’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:2-3 NLTse).

Isiah told us people will go to God’s mountain to learn. They will tell more people to go to God’s mountain to learn. Moses explained this process when he recorded details in the Tabernacle the second time.

Moses wrote five books, Exodus is one of them. Exodus consists of forty chapters. Not a very long book at all. But Moses used a number of chapters to record details about the Tabernacle then repeated those details. Moses is not wasting his time or valuable space in his short book. Moses is revealing valuable spiritual lessons.

The second time Moses recorded details in the Tabernacle, he began by telling us how all the people were touched by God’s Spirit. They gave more material than what was required, and volunteered to work on the Tabernacle. But Moses only recorded one name, Bezalel, and kept repeating his name over and over. We know this is not God’s usual style of communicating with us. It’s rare to see God give credit to one person. When we see something unusual, it is time to pay attention.

Moses focused on an individual and repeated that detail more than enough times to catch our attention. God also explained all the details and how each item was constructed to an individual, Moses. God set up something for us to consider. Are we going to look at the Tabernacle like a tour group, quickly passing by only observing the overall plan, view, and understanding of each item, restricted by one person’s brief explanation of each item and the overall view of the design? Or are we going to take time to learn about and view each item like Bezalel?

We have to look back at what we’ve been told about Bezalel. Then Moses told the people of Israel, “The LORD has specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. The LORD has filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft. And the LORD has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach their skills to others. The LORD has given them special skills as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple, and scarlet thread on fine linen cloth, and weavers. They excel as craftsmen and as designers. (Exodus 35:30-35 NLTse).

We remember how God gave Bezalel all the gifts he needed to complete the project. Bezalel was given skills to do all the work involved. He was also given skills to teach people. Bezalel also was given wisdom to understand the design. Those are some of the most important features of a true follower of God.

What good is it to collect a bunch of information from God but not be able to teach it? What good is it to have a really great relationship with God if you can’t explain the process, God’s original plan or design? Those are attributes showing the difference between a godly person and a wannabe leader. The real thing will be like Bezalel. They will not only be given skills to complete the project, God will make them complete by providing skills to understand the process and explain it to people.

There is a world of difference between looking at a concept of the Ark and understanding how each piece is fabricated and assembled. The same is true on a spiritual basis. Seeing only a overall spiritual view of the Ark is not at all like understanding details each piece represents and how they all fit together. Can we explain them now? Not at this point in this study. We can only look back and not much information was given to tell us what each piece represented. We have to be satisfied with what we’ve been given so far.

The main point is, learning those details is a personal experience with God. Jesus covered that concept when He promised to teach His disciples how to understand scripture. Then Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine. For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given–and you will receive even more. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.” (Mark 4:21-25 NLTse).

We see Jesus taught the same process. There isn’t a lot of understanding in a quick explanation and overall view. Understanding has a process you have to follow. What you do with that understanding or information is the key. Jesus told us, we’ll see all kinds of information like this lesson about Bezalel and his relationship with the Tabernacle. This information is available to everyone willing to listen. Now here is the key. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given–and you will receive even more. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given.

Do you see how Bezalel is a good example and how his example works with Jesus’ explanation of understanding? What would have happened if Bezalel received all those gifts, skills, and information from God, but didn’t teach and explain it to people? Then why does modern Christianity make a living from providing limited, overall views on subjects, and have no idea how to explain the details, or teach skills to get there. I am referring to the personal experience with God we all should have and share.

If Moses received a view and explanation of all those details on God’s mountain, God had to deliver that information to Bezalel in much the same way. Moses represented God’s physical mountain. Bezalel represented God’s spiritual mountain. Now we understand all those specific orders God gave to allow only people He called up to the physical mountain to approach. They were physical witnesses to His physical mountain that pointed to God’s spiritual mountain. It’s not by accident God spoke His law from that physical mountain and reveled this information at this time, at the description of the Ark. There is a connection to understanding, teaching, seeing details in the design, and God’s law.

It would be redundant to go over the same details in previous chapters. Moses did a good job of repeating details of all the items in the Tabernacle and we’ve seen one of the reasons why. We have to keep in mind, God is still in a state of mind, He wanted to reject Israel because they decided to make their own religion rather than follow Him. That’s a problem we still see today.

I have no idea what level your at or where you are in your walk with God. Since we’ve been shown the learning process is a personal matter between you and God, we have to accept that for what it is. We’ve been shown a number of attributes Moses taught about the priesthood that serves God. All of these details come together like the items in the Tabernacle. Each of them serve a specific purpose as well as reveal portions of God’s personality. Learning those details is not much different that learning about a person during dating stages. After all, that is the goal, to develop a personal relationship with God. You would never trust anyone to tell you details about the person your dating. Why would you trust anyone to give you details about the God offering you eternal life and His Son willing to forgive your sins?

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Aaron’s Calf

Posted by adventbiblestudy on November 22, 2016


Chapter 5 Aaron’s Calf

Moses Comes Down From the Mountain

Exodus 32:1-5 NLTse When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain, they gathered around Aaron. “Come on,” they said, “make us some gods who can lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.” (2) So Aaron said, “Take the gold rings from the ears of your wives and sons and daughters, and bring them to me.” (3) All the people took the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. (4) Then Aaron took the gold, melted it down, and molded it into the shape of a calf. When the people saw it, they exclaimed, “O Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of the land of Egypt!” (5) Aaron saw how excited the people were, so he built an altar in front of the calf. Then he announced, “Tomorrow will be a festival to the LORD!”

Now we can begin to see why Aaron was told to sacrifice a bull at the entrance of the Tabernacle to atone for himself and his sons. God used the symbol of a bull to show who had power over what. God gave Adam authority over all the beasts of the field. Priests like those in Egypt gave that authority to the beasts by making idols out of them. It was much like what God did in Egypt when Egyptian priests turned water into blood. Aaron had to show the people he created that false god and he was the one in control. Not that golden calf.

The people would have looked and wondered at what Aaron did when he killed that bull. All their lives they were taught a bull represented Egypt’s savior, a connection between themselves and those gods they worshiped. God put an end to that god and opened up a path to a whole new set of symbols pointing to this world’s only true Savior.

Amazing how God told Moses about sacrificing a bull at the entrance of the Tabernacle before Aaron and the other people got the idea to make a golden calf. Notice how there wasn’t any purification of that gold. Just throw it in and see what came out.

What we just did is follow the general rules of context by looking back on a series of stories to see a spiritual connection and learn the details that connected them. We didn’t jump around from book to book to solve the spiritual meaning of a symbol. Nor did we gather proof texts from different sections of the Bible and different stories to prove a preconceived idea. We followed a story in the way it was recorded until the story unfolded. Remember, this series of stories is one long story. This story told us, Moses is still on the mountain with God getting details about the Tabernacle and its services. Instructions for Aaron to follow when he consecrated himself and his sons is part of that overall story. We see how God reveals the meaning of a symbol within the proper context when we stay within the story. The same story guarantees the proper context.

People miss the seriousness of this story about Aaron and that calf when they jump from book to book, story to story, or worse yet, one sentence to another. Like little parts of gold jewelry, they gather up little bits and pieces of scripture from here and there, melt them down and make their own gods. Their gold is mixed with all kinds of stuff that makes it impure. But they don’t care. They think those other elements makes it better. They don’t give God’s Spirit the chance to purify the message. The spiritual meaning of that calf and the bull Aaron sacrificed to atone for his sins explain the spiritual meaning of the symbols in this story. God recorded stories for us to study each one as a whole. God never intended for His Word to be torn apart, melted down, and to have men claim authority over His recorded Word.

Go Down the Mountain

Exodus 32:6-8 NLTse The people got up early the next morning to sacrifice burnt offerings and peace offerings. After this, they celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry. (7) The LORD told Moses, “Quick! Go down the mountain! Your people whom you brought from the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. (8) How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live! They have melted down gold and made a calf, and they have bowed down and sacrificed to it. They are saying, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.'”

How many people see the message in these few verses? Before Moses went up the mountain alone to meet with God, Israel turned down the offer to be His kingdom of priests. They told Moses to go up, talk to God, then come back and tell them what He said. Moses was gone for a little over a month. Those same people who refused to be God’s priests decided to be priests in their own religion.

There’s no question this happens today. The Christian world is filled with priests, pastors, and ministers of all kinds with no idea how to talk with God, and in many cases, no intention of trying to communicate with Him. Where do they get their information from? No one really knows. They think someone along their chain of command listens to God, but their not sure who or how. Neither can they explain how to communicate with God.

God compared their sacrifices to pagan revelry. Does this include sacrificing individuals because modern day priests and pastors don’t know how to learn, teach, or turn lives over to Jesus? I’ve seen my share of Internet discussions and videos with pastors claiming they or their church have authority for this or that. They usually claim authority to interpret scripture or power over distribution of spiritual gifts. They claim they are assuring people don’t make mistakes and teach the wrong thing. When people are led by God’s Spirit, when they listen and obey God’s voice, how can they teach the wrong thing? Isn’t that God’s concern? I’ve asked dozens of pastors, church leaders, and individuals where the Bible says Jesus gave the authority He earned by His sacrifice to anyone. No one has been able to answer that question except to say, “everyone knows He did.” Just because you repeat something enough times does not make it true. Nor does God change His plan of salvation based on the will of a majority. All that rebellion does is delay joy associated with God’s promises and forces millions to suffer for their mistakes.

I Have Seen Their Rebellion

Exodus 32:9-14 NLTse Then the LORD said, “I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are. (10) Now leave me alone so my fierce anger can blaze against them, and I will destroy them. Then I will make you, Moses, into a great nation.” (11) But Moses tried to pacify the LORD his God. “O LORD!” he said. “Why are you so angry with your own people whom you brought from the land of Egypt with such great power and such a strong hand? (12) Why let the Egyptians say, ‘Their God rescued them with the evil intention of slaughtering them in the mountains and wiping them from the face of the earth’? Turn away from your fierce anger. Change your mind about this terrible disaster you have threatened against your people! (13) Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You bound yourself with an oath to them, saying, ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven. And I will give them all of this land that I have promised to your descendants, and they will possess it forever.'” (14) So the LORD changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had threatened to bring on his people.

God showed His way of doing things is to start over from scratch. He did it with the flood, then with Abraham. After Israel’s display of pagan revelry, God was ready to start over again. This time He was going to begin with Moses. But Moses stood up for Israel and saved them. This is another example of a priest, someone who pleads with God for the people he knows. Did you notice Moses was speaking directly with God? I’ve heard dozens of pastors preach on those verses, but none of them used it as an illustration showing attributes their supposed to possess, or how their supposed to talk directly to God. A great sermon begins at God’s throne followed by a good long look in the mirror.

Moses reminded God about His battle with those false gods from Egypt. That’s all God had to hear. God wanted to know someone was paying attention to the lesson He was teaching by using a series of stories, lessons, and symbols. God needed Moses to speak up. He needed people to see the difference one person can make.

Moses Threw the Tablets

Exodus 32:15-19 NLTse Then Moses turned and went down the mountain. He held in his hands the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. (16) These tablets were God’s work; the words on them were written by God himself. (17) When Joshua heard the boisterous noise of the people shouting below them, he exclaimed to Moses, “It sounds like war in the camp!” (18) But Moses replied, “No, it’s not a shout of victory nor the wailing of defeat. I hear the sound of a celebration.” (19) When they came near the camp, Moses saw the calf and the dancing, and he burned with anger. He threw the stone tablets to the ground, smashing them at the foot of the mountain.

I have to admit, I never did figure out why Moses broke that first set of tablets. I’ve heard a lot of explanations, but all of them were man made fabrications. Nothing more than what I would consider opinions. There has to be an explanation in scripture. I have another question. Where did Joshua come into the picture?

So Moses and his assistant Joshua set out, and Moses climbed up the mountain of God. Moses told the elders, “Stay here and wait for us until we come back. Aaron and Hur are here with you. If anyone has a dispute while I am gone, consult with them.” Then Moses climbed up the mountain, and the cloud covered it. And the glory of the LORD settled down on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from inside the cloud. To the Israelites at the foot of the mountain, the glory of the LORD appeared at the summit like a consuming fire. Then Moses disappeared into the cloud as he climbed higher up the mountain. He remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights. (Exodus 24:13-18 NLTse).

Based on the text, it appeared Joshua went up the mountain with Moses. It also appears Joshua stayed at one level while Moses went into a cloud to meet with God. It seems a little unusual for two men to go up a mountain and return forty days later with two tablets of stone with God’s law written on them. Is there a connection between Moses, Joshua, and God’s law we don’t see?

It doesn’t seem right to compare anyone to God’s law. After all, not one of us has been able to keep all of it. And how could God’s law be used as a symbol to point to two men? Or did Moses and Joshua somehow teach us something about the law we haven’t see yet? Maybe we can understand a little more if we looked at what is referred to as the fear of God. We can look at a few examples later in Israel’s journey to see if there is any connection.

Genesis 28:16-17 NLTse Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” (17) But he was also afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God, the very gateway to heaven!”

Exodus 3:5-6 NLTse “Do not come any closer,” the LORD warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. (6) I am the God of your father–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.

Exodus 20:18-20 NLTse When the people heard the thunder and the loud blast of the ram’s horn, and when they saw the flashes of lightning and the smoke billowing from the mountain, they stood at a distance, trembling with fear. (19) And they said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die!” (20) “Don’t be afraid,” Moses answered them, “for God has come in this way to test you, and so that your fear of him will keep you from sinning!”

Jacob, Moses, and the people all feared God. Why? Jacob deceived his father and stole the perceived birthright from his brother. Moses looked at God in the form of a burning bush. Israel heard God’s voice as He gave them the ten commandments for the first time. We can see Jacob didn’t have much of a relationship with God at that time. Otherwise he would have known better than to lie his father. Moses went up that mountain to find out who God was. Israel was stuck on Egyptian deities and hadn’t heard from God for four hundred years. None of them really knew God before He talked with them. Another thing they all had in common when the Bible said they were afraid, all of them were in God’s presence at that moment. The fear of God is being in His presence.

Psalms 130:1-8 NLTse From the depths of despair, O LORD, I call for your help. (2) Hear my cry, O Lord. Pay attention to my prayer. (3) LORD, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive? (4) But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you. (5) I am counting on the LORD; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word. (6) I long for the Lord more than sentries long for the dawn, yes, more than sentries long for the dawn. (7) O Israel, hope in the LORD; for with the LORD there is unfailing love. His redemption overflows. (8) He himself will redeem Israel from every kind of sin.

David was in God’s presence in a way we should all understand. He talked with God and listened. David understood God because he had a relationship with Him. When we read through stories about Jacob and Moses, we see how they had times when they weren’t sure how to listen. As their relationship with God grew, so did their communication skills. Those are lessons we need to learn from.

Moses and Joshua were contracts to those people at the bottom of that mountain. Moses talked with God, Joshua waited. The people at the base of the mountain saw God’s presence. They knew where God was. They knew He was watching. But they refused to talk to Him. It didn’t take long for them to develop a sense of self reliance. We might call it selfishness. In this example, we’re shown where that always leads – to idol worship.

It may not be a golden calf. Idols come in many forms. The enemy makes a living from disguising idols and other deceptions. We can see how those people made themselves priests after they turned down God’s offer to be His priests. They sacrificed, set up ceremonies, and made a god all in clear site of God. How far does the world go today when most Christians are convinced God doesn’t listen anymore?

Moses Ground the Calf to Powder

Exodus 32:20-28 NLTse He took the calf they had made and burned it. Then he ground it into powder, threw it into the water, and forced the people to drink it. (21) Finally, he turned to Aaron and demanded, “What did these people do to you to make you bring such terrible sin upon them?” (22) “Don’t get so upset, my lord,” Aaron replied. “You yourself know how evil these people are. (23) They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.’ (24) So I told them, ‘Whoever has gold jewelry, take it off.’ When they brought it to me, I simply threw it into the fire–and out came this calf!” (25) Moses saw that Aaron had let the people get completely out of control, much to the amusement of their enemies. (26) So he stood at the entrance to the camp and shouted, “All of you who are on the LORD’s side, come here and join me.” And all the Levites gathered around him. (27) Moses told them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Each of you, take your swords and go back and forth from one end of the camp to the other. Kill everyone–even your brothers, friends, and neighbors.” (28) The Levites obeyed Moses’ command, and about 3,000 people died that day.

Gold has a strange property. When dissolved in thinner, it turns the brightest red. Gold is used to tint the finest red paints. Some time on that mountain, Moses must have been shown how to burn gold to a point before it melted, quickly cooled it to make it brittle, then grind it to dust so it would easily dissolve in water which is nature’s best thinner. Israel drank the idol in a liquid resembling blood.

Who can estimate the thoughts that must have gone through their minds when one after another person drank that potion. Can you imagine breaking God’s law like they did while He was watching from His mountain? We should be able to imagine such a thing. We all do it everyday.

Aaron’s response takes us back to that first sin in Genesis when Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent. Adam also blamed God. Aaron blamed Moses. If Moses knew how evil the people were, why did he leave Aaron alone and in charge? Aaron said, “why did you put me in charge?”

What goes through your mind when you compare the idol Aaron made to what Eve did at that tree in the garden? How does a bite of fruit compare to a golden calf? The first comparison seen is the way each shifted blame. Neither Aaron, Adam, or Eve took responsibility. Their first reaction was to put someone in their place to pay the penalty. Now we can see why God worked up a plan to do what people want – someone to take the blame and pay the penalty for sin. Now that we understand how God works with human nature, we know He understands it much better than us. God immediately saw that side of human nature. How long did it take for you to catch on?

Neither one of them understood God, His nature, or power. David summed up something they should have been thinking about. O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! (Psalms 139:1-7 NLTse).

Why would you try lying to a God who sees and knows everything? As if people think they can get away with something. We still see that attitude today, but with a new angle. People actually believe all they need to do is pray at the last minute and all their sins will be forgiven. What about all those sins you’d rather blame on someone else? I’m sure there’s a long list of them. That’s why it’s important to communicate with God, so he can remind you about them. Now we understand why Aaron had to place his hands on the bull, the first, and second ram. He had to do it himself, and show the people, we need to repeat the process of atonement, remembering our sins. If Aaron, Adam, Eve, and all of us for that matter can forget God is always watching, I’d say there is a really good chance we’re going to forget a sin or two if we rely on our own judgment and memory.

How serious is the matter of atonement and asking to be forgiven? There is always the chance your life will end in a flash. Look what happened to those people at the base of that mountain. Moses told them to stand on one side or the other. It appeared only the Levites, the same family Aaron and Moses came from, joined with their brothers. There must have been members from other families because they all show up in later chapters, and only 3,000 people were killed that day.

That is a small percentage of the 600,000 that left Israel. This shows how a small group of people can effect an entire group. Still loosing 3000 is a great loss. Think for a moment why they were killed and if anything could have been done to save them. Then consider the circumstances.

Moses Atones for Israel

Exodus 32:29-35 NLTse Then Moses told the Levites, “Today you have ordained yourselves for the service of the LORD, for you obeyed him even though it meant killing your own sons and brothers. Today you have earned a blessing.” (30) The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a terrible sin, but I will go back up to the LORD on the mountain. Perhaps I will be able to obtain forgiveness for your sin.” (31) So Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Oh, what a terrible sin these people have committed. They have made gods of gold for themselves. (32) But now, if you will only forgive their sin–but if not, erase my name from the record you have written!” (33) But the LORD replied to Moses, “No, I will erase the name of everyone who has sinned against me. (34) Now go, lead the people to the place I told you about. Look! My angel will lead the way before you. And when I come to call the people to account, I will certainly hold them responsible for their sins.” (35) Then the LORD sent a great plague upon the people because they had worshiped the calf Aaron had made.

What a strange way to obtain a blessing. Who would have ever thought killing someone would be associated with an ordination. This is another case where it pays to look at another translation. For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves to day to the LORD, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day. (Exodus 32:29 KJV).

We can see the word ordained isn’t used in the KJV. That translation used the word consecrate. The Hebrew word means to be full of in relationship to a hand. We can see the Levites are being set apart because they stood up against sin. But how did they stand up against it? By killing people. They obeyed God and killed their brothers, fellow Israelites. This seems strange and out of character for a loving God. We can’t imagine what actually led to such a disaster. We’re told about the calf, festival, and sacrifices they offered. Did that push them over the line? Why did some die while others were given a second chance?

There’s a second verse to look at. The NLT translation said, obtain forgiveness. The KJV used the word atonement. And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin. (Exodus 32:30 KJV). The Hebrew word for atonement means to cover. We covered those details in previous chapters. When we read the end of the chapter, we can see that’s what Moses did, reminded God about what happened. Moses couldn’t forgive or cover those sins himself. All Moses could do is remind God about those sins and ask Him to forgive them. Moses did something really strange. He offered God a choice. Was Moses getting bold? We have to ask why this conversation was recorded. It seems like a natural part of the story, but take a closer look at what’s going on.

In the midst of all of what was going on, Moses stepped up and talked to God like he could bargain with Him. What could possibly make Moses think he could bargain with the God of the universe? Moses just spent forty days and nights talking with God. Moses learned more about God than most people would ever hope for. Of course they became friends. That was part of the lesson. Just because most of those people turned down the chance to be God’s priests didn’t mean the lessons stopped. The lessons continued. Moses illustrated another vital detail about priests. They aren’t afraid to talk to God. They know God. They trust God. How many priests do you know who are like that?

That calf caused God to send a plague through the camp. Who can help but notice the correlation between the first and last verse in the chapter? They both deal with the calf. The introduction tells about making the calf. The summation tells about the consequences. The detail that gets to me is how people place such a literal meaning on this lesson. As long as their not worshiping a golden calf, people feel safe. Is that true?

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The Priesthood

Posted by adventbiblestudy on November 22, 2016


Chapter 1 Priesthood

Aaron and His Sons

Exodus 28:1-4 NLTse “Call for your brother, Aaron, and his sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. Set them apart from the rest of the people of Israel so they may minister to me and be my priests. (2) Make sacred garments for Aaron that are glorious and beautiful. (3) Instruct all the skilled craftsmen whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom. Have them make garments for Aaron that will distinguish him as a priest set apart for my service. (4) These are the garments they are to make: a chestpiece, an ephod, a robe, a patterned tunic, a turban, and a sash. They are to make these sacred garments for your brother, Aaron, and his sons to wear when they serve me as priests.

We have to put ourselves in Moses’ shoes so to speak. That first verse about calling his brother points to something personal. Moses brought his brother, and Aaron’s two sons up that mountain to have dinner with God. They were joined by seventy elders. When we look at the Hebrew word for elder, we see it included both men and women. It seems like they left and went down the mountain when God showed Moses all the details about the Tabernacle.

There Moses saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there seemed to be a surface of brilliant blue lapis lazuli, as clear as the sky itself. (Exodus 24:10 NLTse). Moses looked up to see a golden box with cherubim on top, facing each other, looking down at the top of the box. Moses walked around the box while God observed his interest and sense of awe. Moses looked at the detail in the wings, faces of the cherubim, and ripples in the robes they wore. Moses looked over at the design along the rim around the top. God smiled as Moses took a step back to take in the view. He bent down to look at the slender legs, then up at the corners of the box.

Moses turned around when God told him the box is made of acacia wood covered in pure gold. God went on to explain how the box is constructed, how the joints are made to hold the corners together, and how the legs fit into the reinforced corners. God explained the cover is made of a single, solid gold piece. God told Moses how the piece is to be designed and cast.

Moses looked at the poles through the rings attached to the four corners. God explained the poles are also made of acacia wood, covered in gold. God explained how the poles are designed so the Ark will not slide on the poles when it is carried. God pointed out the width and thickness of the rings. God also explained how gold used to cover the Ark is to be purified. Then God explained the process Moses must follow to make gold to cover the poles and rings. God explained how to heat the gold, hold it at the required temperature for a time, and when to add one material, wait, then add other materials in exact proportions at the proper time and temperature.

God moved Moses to the table. Moses was impressed with the way the gold shimmered on the simple design. Moses gave the same attention to detail to the simple table he gave to the Ark. The table didn’t take as long to look over. Moses asked, “let me guess, this is also acacia wood covered in gold.” God smiled as He corrected Moses, “pure gold.” God was glad Moses was catching on so quickly. God went over details on the construction of the table like He explained about the Ark.

God showed Moses curtains hanging on the walls. He drew back the curtain to show a golden wall behind it. Moses looked up at the height of the wall. God went into great detail about the material for the curtains and the patterns sown into them. God showed Moses how the curtains were to be made, how many threads per inch, how to reinforce the edges, attach specially designed rings, and how to hang them.

Moses sat in awe as God showed him the supporting walls. How they were notched to fit into the silver bases, slide together, and interlock. Moses took a closer look at the walls. Seams were barely visible on that air tight seam designed to block out the wind. Moses wondered if Noah used the same seam. God showed Moses tools that had to be made and a method of manufacturing pieces to ensure each was exactly like the others. Moses thought, this is going to take some time. There is a lot to remember.

God knew Moses was not the most confident man in the world. Nor was he the wisest man. At times it took Moses longer to understand than it would take the average man. But once Moses understood, there was little that could shake his memory or confidence.

It took over a month for Moses to write down the descriptions God wanted in writing, and those regulations. There were many more details Moses had to dedicate to memory. Exact dimensions, formulas for materials, processes to make those materials, assembly instructions, and many more materials.

God suddenly changed to a new subject. Moses was to set his brother Aaron and his two sons apart from the rest of the people. Only three people were supposed to serve as priests. Since Israel turned down God’s offer to become a kingdom of priests, God had no choice but to go to plan B. From a million priests to three. Talk about slowing down the plan salvation. Who can measure the cost in lives over the generations it took before Jesus ended the Levitical priesthood and showed the world that direct path to God’s throne.

As we look back, we see a list of details God provided to prepare Aaron and his sons for the priesthood. God made a way for Aaron to escape from Egypt and led him straight to Moses. Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.” Then the LORD became angry with Moses. “All right,” he said. “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he speaks well. And look! He is on his way to meet you now. He will be delighted to see you. Talk to him, and put the words in his mouth. I will be with both of you as you speak, and I will instruct you both in what to do. Aaron will be your spokesman to the people. He will be your mouthpiece, and you will stand in the place of God for him, telling him what to say. (Exodus 4:12-16 NLTse).

Not only did God tell Moses and Aaron everything to say, we see how God was busy arranging details long before Moses asked the question, or cast any shadow of doubt. God made a way for Aaron to leave Egypt and guided Aaron straight to his brother, all with perfect timing. This is an important lesson for a priest to learn. A priest has to have trust God has been working on details to solve problems long before we’re aware it is a problem. When we see how God has been working on details, we owe it to God to tell people about how we were lost and confused before we saw God’s plan clearly revealed. This is what a lot of people call a personal witness. God showed how this process works and the reason for the process at the Red Sea. And once again I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD!” So the Israelites camped there as they were told. (Exodus 14:4 NLTse).

All of those things are done for God’s glory. As a priest, our greatest role is glorifying God by telling people what He has done in our lives. We become a personal witness for God which is the definition God placed on the priesthood.

The priesthood began at the Passover when the elders were called together. While the Israelites were still in the land of Egypt, the LORD gave the following instructions to Moses and Aaron: “From now on, this month will be the first month of the year for you. Announce to the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for a sacrifice, one animal for each household. Then Moses called all the elders of Israel together and said to them, “Go, pick out a lamb or young goat for each of your families, and slaughter the Passover animal. (Exodus 12:1-3, 21 NLTse).

Israel was instructed to share their personal experience including that event. When you enter the land the LORD has promised to give you, you will continue to observe this ceremony. Then your children will ask, ‘What does this ceremony mean?’ And you will reply, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt. And though he struck the Egyptians, he spared our families.'” When Moses had finished speaking, all the people bowed down to the ground and worshiped. (Exodus 12:25-27 NLTse).

Before God began instructing priests about their roles, He had to get the Egyptian form of worship out of their systems. We’ve seen how God used a series of plagues to teach lessons designed to prepare Israel for the priesthood. Every time we look back, we see a few we’ve missed. As we slowly progress through the step by step process Moses recorded, we can see how they keep pointing us back to specific details.

It takes more than a personal witness to be a priest. Another detail recorded in the process is knowing God tells a priest what to say, when to say it, and who to say it to. This has to be the most difficult aspect of the priesthood to understand. Imagine a priest saying only what God tells them to say. Is there any other way? There are a thousand different ways to be a priest. All of them are variations of Egyptian practices they were supposed to leave in Egypt. God made it very clear – God either controls you, or you control the gods you worship.

God’s form of worship is simple. You tell people your personal experiences with Him. How God set up details that effected and changed your life. Tell people how you learned to trust God. How God communicates with you. How God surprised you. How God blessed you.

The form of worship left behind in Egypt was far different. Priest told people what they needed to do to serve their gods. They had to follow orders from priests appointed by Pharaoh. Their gods didn’t communicate with people. There was no way for their gods to communicate with people – they didn’t exist. The priests set up a form of worship that sounded good, made sense, and everyone believed, but it never led to anything. There was no personal witnessing because there was not relationship between their gods and people.

When Israel turned down God’s offer for a personal relationship, they told God they wanted to go back to the from of worship they learned in Egypt. Everything God taught them was lost. They threw it all away. They placed an enormous burden on Moses. God would have shown every detail about the Tabernacle to the people involved in making each piece. God would have personally instructed each person, but they turned down the offer. Moses had to learn every process to fabricate each piece, all the materials, and designs for each piece. Moses had to, “Instruct all the skilled craftsmen whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom.” Moses had to learn every details on all the priest’s clothing.

Have them make garments for Aaron that will distinguish him as a priest set apart for my service. These are the garments they are to make: a chestpiece, an ephod, a robe, a patterned tunic, a turban, and a sash. They are to make these sacred garments for your brother, Aaron, and his sons to wear when they serve me as priests.

God gave Israel what they wanted. A few priests dressed the way they wanted to see them. But locked away in the high priest’s uniform were symbols they didn’t understand. Symbols generations had to wait to see revealed.

Ephod

Exodus 28:5-8 NLTse So give them fine linen cloth, gold thread, and blue, purple, and scarlet thread. (6) “The craftsmen must make the ephod of finely woven linen and skillfully embroider it with gold and with blue, purple, and scarlet thread. (7) It will consist of two pieces, front and back, joined at the shoulders with two shoulder-pieces. (8) The decorative sash will be made of the same materials: finely woven linen embroidered with gold and with blue, purple, and scarlet thread.

Priests wore the same colors used to make up the inside of the Tabernacle which showed a connection with it. Those colors served as a reminder of what Israel gave up. People passing and gathering at the entrance of the courtyard could see the colors blue, purple, and scarlet, but they didn’t see much of the gold. Not even when the Tabernacle was taken down to be transported. For forty years gold reminded Israel of the treasure they passed up. All they saw from the outside was brass.

I actually had to look up the word linen to see what details the Hebrew word adds. It describes linen as a bleached white cloth. The first item described for the priest was a simple white linen garment called an ephod. The ephod had the same colors sown into the borders as the courtyard and curtains inside the Tabernacle. Gold was also used as an accent. God had a reason for repeating the colors, and using them on the priest’s garments. People were shown a taste of what is inside the Tabernacle, but never saw the complete picture.

It’s the same now when people follow the old ways of the priesthood God introduced as a plan B. Whenever people depend on someone to talk to God for them, they miss the best parts, the wonders inside the room where Jesus waits to meet you. They miss the meal, conversation, the way light from the lamps dance off the walls, and show off detailed patterns on the inner curtains. They miss details Jesus has to tell you about your life. How He wants you to reach out to others, the endless love He offers you. The love that should flow through you to others. You miss the gifts He’s prepared for you. The gift of knowledge, wisdom, learning, prophecy, sharing, loving, healing, charity, patience, all the wonders in the universe, and locked in His Word. Like the priest’s garment, we see a small part of that gold, but miss out on the majority of the splendor.

Looking back on personal experiences, I can see how personal testimonies are one of the easiest way to distinguish God’s priests from people playing the role because it’s a job. As a matter of fact, God put me in a position to see the contrast in a big way.

The week almost drove me nuts. I was quickly reaching a breaking point. I had to often stop and question my faith in God. How could I say I trusted God and worry at the same time? I called one of the pastors I work with and asked if it was okay if me moved the phone away from his ear for a few seconds so I could scream. The problem I was having concerned the sale of my house. What appeared to me as a five minute task consumed an entire week. Parties involved did what people do best. Pointed fingers and claimed it wasn’t their job. All I needed was a simple email answered from either one person or the other. It dragged on until the last minute.

Sure I prayed. Sure I tried to convince myself God was in control of the whole situation. Sure I was frustrated and talked out loud to God asking why I couldn’t get this person or the other to do such a simple task. Sure I came up with a dozen ways to solve the problem and a plan B, C, and D just in case things didn’t work out. The fact of the matter was, the little problem over whelmed my mind, caused me undo stress to the point I was exhausted at the end of the day, and was physically effecting me. I wasn’t planning meals, forgot to pay one bill, damn those late charges, I found my concentration wasn’t at a top level while driving or other times of the day. How can you be a Christian and worry like that? At least I was smart enough to look back at the whole lesson.

A friend called me and asked me to attend a meeting with a few pastors interested in Real Estate investing. I agreed. Later she asked me to pick her up. It wasn’t that far out of the way. I got to her office where she told me, she needed a ride downtown to pay her taxes. I hate going downtown. She may as well have asked me to cut off a finger. We hopped in the car and drove downtown a few minutes before rush hour. She called to let the pastors know we would be late for the meeting.

We got to city hall and found a parking space right in front of the door. It was a wide parking space I pulled into in one attempt. She ran in to pay her taxes. I sat and watched a woman in a smaller car trying to parallel park in a larger space in front of me. She kept turning her wheels the wrong way time after time. She got out of the car and told me I should move so she could use two spaces to pull into. I was on the phone and ignored her.

We were on the road and on our way to the meeting with five minutes to spare. We were five minutes a head of rush hour traffic, a few thousand cars, many of them with the same attitude as the woman parking in front of me. The ride was smooth and we made it on time. The other pastors was late. We sat down with one of the pastors and talked about how we saw God working in our lives that week.

The other pastor was a real contrast to the first at the meeting. The second pastor wanted to purchase a house next to his church. He bragged about the value of his church and how much money it brought in along with how long he’s been in business. The list price on the property was $4000. The hang up and reason for the meeting was, it was a city owned property, and the city will sell some properties to nonprofit organizations for $1. The pastor who wanted to buy the house never filed as a nonprofit, but bragged he never paid taxes. He got into a few details I questioned. I asked a few questions to gauge some views on scripture. He flip flopped on views and subjects.

We explained how to apply as a nonprofit so he could buy the property for $1. But the man kept arguing he knew more than the other people at the meeting. The other pastor purchased a number of properties from the city for $1 based on his nonprofit status. After more than an hour the goals of the pastor who wanted to buy the $4000 house became evident. I tried introducing a few facts and figures to he could figure out the big picture.

The city would most likely accept $3000 for the house. The city would pay the real estate agent who asked me to attend the meeting $1500. So he is actually paying the city $1500 for the house. To file for a nonprofit status to buy the house for $1, he would have to pay the federal government $850 and an accountant $250 to file out the 19 page nonprofit application. I charge $500 for that service. Normal fees for that service range from $800 to over $2000.

Fact of the matter was, the man would have to invest $1100 to buy the house for $1. It boiled down to a simple choice. He could buy the house next to his church that week, the real estate agent would get paid, and he would not run the risk of loosing the house. But to save himself $399, he was willing to wait a few months to file as a nonprofit and ask the real estate agent to donate her time for free.

The man couldn’t make any sense out of what I was trying to explain. He was too filled with self to see how he was taking advantage of the agent trying to help him. He didn’t care he was wasting our time by bragging about all his achievements. I called an end to the meeting, walked out with the other agent and told her, “I could never work with that one pastor. I’ve worked with too many investors with that mentality, and when he said saving $399 was more important than seeing you get paid $1500 showed me exactly where his mind was stuck.”

The real contrast was how that meeting began, praising God as we shared what He did for us that week, and how it ended, a pastor bragging about what he did and what he plans on doing. I suddenly saw, God showed me how His priests will always have a personal testimony to share as a witness. But make believe priests, carbon copies of those priests in Egypt will testify about their accomplishments. That is exactly what those priests and magicians did in Pharaoh’s court, showed off what they could accomplish.

Onyx Stones

Exodus 28:9-14 NLTse “Take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the tribes of Israel. (10) Six names will be on each stone, arranged in the order of the births of the original sons of Israel. (11) Engrave these names on the two stones in the same way a jeweler engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in settings of gold filigree. (12) Fasten the two stones on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod as a reminder that Aaron represents the people of Israel. Aaron will carry these names on his shoulders as a constant reminder whenever he goes before the LORD. (13) Make the settings of gold filigree, (14) then braid two cords of pure gold and attach them to the filigree settings on the shoulders of the ephod.

The simple ephod is followed by none other than a set of onyx stones engraved with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. Six names are on each stone. Looking back a few verses and we can see the family connection God is setting. Moses was to call his brother Aaron. The onyx stones have the names of twelve brothers. This served as a reminder, we all all brothers in God’s eyes. To Christians it’s supposed to remind us, we are all brothers in Christ.

God could have easily engraved those stones Himself and given them to Moses to carry down that mountain with him. But God wanted someone to work on placing each letter into those stones. This showed the work involved to make every man a brother, and see how God loves all of them. God expects us to put an effort in. How difficult could it be to tell people about the experiences you had with God?

Look at all the examples in Exodus. God repeated Himself for a reason. So we wouldn’t miss the lesson. He performs those miracles in our lives so we can share His wonderful deeds with others. And lead them to God. Then He preforms more miracles in their lives, they tell other people, and lead more people to God. It’s such a simple process. How could it do anything but succeed? No one could come up with an easier plan. But what happened with to that plan?

People seem afraid to share, or they don’t know how to share. They may not see how God blessed them, or don’t take time to look back at all the details God had to arrange for a certain event to turn out the way it did. Why don’t Christians teach people how to witness?

Some do. The problem is, they teach it the wrong way. They don’t rely on what’s taught in the Bible, but rely on plans conceived in a boardroom. Moses recorded what God told him what to write. God kept telling Moses to look back over details. God pointed Moses all the way back to a prophecy Abraham received four hundred years before Moses showed up in Pharaoh’s court. If Moses looked back four hundred years, shouldn’t we teach people to look back four days or weeks? What has God done in your life you should be telling people about? The godly will see these things and be glad, while the wicked are struck silent. Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the LORD. (Psalms 107:42-43 NLTse).

Those onyx stones served as a reminder. A reminder of what? I think we can find the answer by looking a little deeper into the text. In this case, using a different translation may help. And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel: (Exodus 28:9 KJV).

Before we begin diving into the onyx stones, I’d like to look at one of the colors used throughout the Tabernacle. The word to describe the color scarlet actually refers to worm found in the manna when people tried saving it for the next day. That worm was used to extract red dye.

According to the Hebrew translation, the onyx stone is a pale green color. We haven’t seen that color used in the Tabernacle yet. The color would stand out based on the fact it is rare in the Tabernacle. The word grave, or engrave has an interesting definition.

Engrave (grave) H6605 פּתח pâthach

A primitive root; to open wide (literally or figuratively); specifically to loosen, begin, plough, carve: – appear, break forth, draw (out), let go free, (en-) grave (-n), loose (self), (be, beset) open (-ing), put off, ungird, unstop, have vent.

The word used to set the names in the onyx stones refers back to the freedom Israel received by leaving Egypt. As we’ve seen, there is a physical and spiritual freedom involved. As usual, the physical freedom was easy to accept and appreciate. On the other hand, that spiritual freedom required a lot more thought and understanding. I’d have to say, if you think your capable of explaining that freedom, you have not experienced any measure of the spiritual freedom God offered Israel.

We also see one translation used the word tribes, while another used children. The actual Hebrew word is derived from a number of other words which include, son, daughter, branch, nephew, and a long list of relatives. That Hebrew word also included calf, lamb, and other new born animals. This reminds me of another story in the Bible. Then the LORD said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?” (Jonah 4:10-11 NLTse). God just doesn’t stop caring for those animals.

God had His own way of fastening those onyx stones to the breastplate, or ephod. Some people insist those two stones were part of the breastplate. Here Moses said they were fastened on the shoulders of the ephod using gold chains or threads depending on the translation. Once again we have to avoid jumping ahead to define symbols. Gold was used to hold the two stones with the twelve names of Israel’s children to the ephod worn by the high priest. The gold chains wrapped around the high priest to hold those stones in place. There should be enough there to think about.

Chestpiece

Exodus 28:15-29 NLTse “Then, with great skill and care, make a chestpiece to be worn for seeking a decision from God. Make it to match the ephod, using finely woven linen embroidered with gold and with blue, purple, and scarlet thread. (16) Make the chestpiece of a single piece of cloth folded to form a pouch nine inches square. (17) Mount four rows of gemstones on it. The first row will contain a red carnelian, a pale green peridot, and an emerald. (18) The second row will contain a turquoise, a blue lapis lazuli, and a white moonstone. (19) The third row will contain an orange jacinth, an agate, and a purple amethyst. (20) The fourth row will contain a blue-green beryl, an onyx, and a green jasper. All these stones will be set in gold filigree. (21) Each stone will represent one of the twelve sons of Israel, and the name of that tribe will be engraved on it like a seal. (22) “To attach the chestpiece to the ephod, make braided cords of pure gold thread. (23) Then make two gold rings and attach them to the top corners of the chestpiece. (24) Tie the two gold cords to the two rings on the chestpiece. (25) Tie the other ends of the cords to the gold settings on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod. (26) Then make two more gold rings and attach them to the inside edges of the chestpiece next to the ephod. (27) And make two more gold rings and attach them to the front of the ephod, below the shoulder-pieces, just above the knot where the decorative sash is fastened to the ephod. (28) Then attach the bottom rings of the chestpiece to the rings on the ephod with blue cords. This will hold the chestpiece securely to the ephod above the decorative sash. (29) “In this way, Aaron will carry the names of the tribes of Israel on the sacred chestpiece over his heart when he goes into the Holy Place. This will be a continual reminder that he represents the people when he comes before the LORD.

Then God gave Moses the design of a very important piece. It was called the breastplate. God told Moses it was used to seek God’s decision. It seems strange Moses listed that detail without going into an explanation. How did God provide answers and counsel through a breastplate? At this point, we don’t know. The fact Moses didn’t record the exact process is another reminder of what Israel gave up. So much of the Tabernacle became a mystery.

I’ve read some descriptions of the breastplate, but few of them seem to match the description Moses recorded. The breastplate was made to match the ephod. It was the same color and decorated with the same color thread. The breastplate was actually made to be a pouch. At this point, we’re not told what that pouch held.

Mounted on the front of that linen breastplate were twelve stones, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Again we see the theme of brothers and family repeated. This time each is represented by a single stone. Some people jump ahead to make a comparison to the twelve foundations for the New City Jerusalem.

The wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The wall of the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve precious stones: the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. (Revelation 21:14, 19-20 NLTse).

As we can see, the foundations for New Jerusalem represents the apostles. Although some of the stones are the same, others are different. This shows how you can’t assume one symbol explains another. There isn’t much of a comparison between the Tabernacle and the City of New Jerusalem. The two sets of gemstones show two very important groups of people who cannot be connected by time or the roles they served in the plan of salvation. If anything, a review of those lives will show how each person had individual needs, desires, expectations, attributes, and short comings.

Looking at Jacob’s sons, we see a long list of mistakes they made. You can review those stories on your own. Some people claim Joseph was near perfect. Compared to his brothers, that may be a somewhat accurate description. But when it came to marriage, Joseph may have made the biggest mistake. Then Pharaoh gave Joseph a new Egyptian name, Zaphenath-paneah. He also gave him a wife, whose name was Asenath. She was the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On. So Joseph took charge of the entire land of Egypt. (Genesis 41:45 NLTse). We really shouldn’t judge if marrying an Egyptian woman, the daughter of a priest was a good or bad thing for Joseph. We do see repeated problems with the tribes that came from Joseph’s two sons, known as half tribes. David also told us something about Joseph and his influence in Egypt. Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the LORD tested Joseph’s character. Then Pharaoh sent for him and set him free; the ruler of the nation opened his prison door. Joseph was put in charge of all the king’s household; he became ruler over all the king’s possessions. He could instruct the king’s aides as he pleased and teach the king’s advisers. (Psalms 105:19-22 NLTse).

Joseph was placed in a position to teach. About what? When we look at the story, we can see Joseph taught the people how to collect and store grain. He also could teach them about God. But when we look at the outcome of the stories four hundred years later, not even Joseph had much of an influence.

The apostles followed a different course in life. Their stories began when Jesus found them and told them to follow. Like Jacob’s son’s, some of the apostles are little more than named. Little is known about them.

This is one of those points where we have to step back from a study to see where we are, and where we’re headed. What we did is entered into the land called rabbit hole theology. It’s named rabbit hole theology because it is like hunting a rabbit by jumping from hole to hole. You have no idea where the rabbit is, or where it will pop up. Rabbits live in a series of underground caverns with a number of openings designed to confuse and frustrate the hunter, who never seems to catch the rabbit. Bible study that jumps from subject to subject may seem like it is going somewhere, but never accomplished the intended goal.

Getting back to the breastplate, we see another detail it has in common with the onyx stones. Both are tied around the priest’s body with gold chains or threads. We also see the names of Jacob’s sons engraved in the stones. Some of those gems are known for their hardness. Diamonds are known for cutting glass. Rubies and sapphires are used for high pressure water jet cutting machines. Gemstones are hard and difficult to engrave. This not only took a great amount of skill, but the right tools. Ordinary steel tools would not have been able to do the job. Many history scholars like to claim to know the exact dates man progressed from wood, to stone, bronze, then iron, or steel weapons. I’ve seen some preachers apply that type of theology to the statue in Daniel’s book. I guess that theory has a few holes in it. Preachers will use the progression from bronze to iron weapons, but that kind of thinking falls apart when you ask them if the previous kingdoms used silver and gold weapons. Fact of the matter is, iron is mentioned in the Bible before the flood. Lamech’s other wife, Zillah, gave birth to a son named Tubal-cain. He became an expert in forging tools of bronze and iron. Tubal-cain had a sister named Naamah. (Genesis 4:22 NLTse). So either the Bible is wrong or historians are making up stories.

God had to show Moses how to make special alloys and tools to engrave those gemstones. This brings up another detail a million people missed out on by rejecting God’s offer. Think of how God could have provided advanced technology to Israel if they would have kept communication channels open. When we shut the door on God, we have no idea what we are giving up.

Moses went into a great amount of detail about how the breastplate is fastened to the high priest’s body. When we look at the order described by Moses, the breastplate covered the cords that held the onyx stones to the high priest. There is a built in double layer of protection. “In this way, Aaron will carry the names of the tribes of Israel on the sacred chestpiece over his heart when he goes into the Holy Place. This will be a continual reminder that he represents the people when he comes before the LORD.”

Insert the Urim and Thummim into the sacred chestpiece so they will be carried over Aaron’s heart when he goes into the LORD’s presence. In this way, Aaron will always carry over his heart the objects used to determine the LORD’s will for his people whenever he goes in before the LORD.(Exodus 28:30 NLTse). The Urim and Thummim are believed to be the special stones God used to answer questions. Many people believe the Urim and Thummim are names for the two onyx stones. But Moses said the Urim and Thummim covered Aaron’s heart. Those two stones were somehow placed in the chestpiece. Does that mean they were carried in the pouch? When we consider the facts, placing the Urim and Thummim inside that pouch seem to be the only explanation. Why are those stones placed inside the pouch? God keeps adding details people gave up on trying to understand. The Hebrew word Urim means fire or fiery glow. Thummim means perfection. The two words together give us a hint of how God used stones to communicate.

Robe

 

Exodus 28:31-35 NLTse “Make the robe that is worn with the ephod from a single piece of blue cloth, (32) with an opening for Aaron’s head in the middle of it. Reinforce the opening with a woven collar so it will not tear. (33) Make pomegranates out of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and attach them to the hem of the robe, with gold bells between them. (34) The gold bells and pomegranates are to alternate all around the hem. (35) Aaron will wear this robe whenever he ministers before the LORD, and the bells will tinkle as he goes in and out of the LORD’s presence in the Holy Place. If he wears it, he will not die.

Moses moved to a description of the outer robe worn by the high priest. When we look at the description thus far, some of the details appear strange. The robe is made of a single piece of blue cloth. We’re not told what shade of blue it was. It has an opening at the top for Aaron to put his head through. When we look back at the previous verses, we see the onyx stones and breastplate are attached to the ephod. The Hebrew word for ephod in the Old English sense is girdle, which is worn on the inside, against the body. The Hebrew word for robe means covering. Based on the description given thus far, the blue robe with an opening at the top for Aaron’s head would have completely covered the onyx stones and breastplate.

This is far different than other descriptions I’ve read and all the artist’s conceptions showing how Aaron was dressed. All of them show the breastplate on the outside, and often show the robe as an open robe, designed much like a modern bath robe.

Moses added a strange detail about that robe. The collar was sown and reinforced so it would not tear. The collar was an important part of the design for a reason. If we jump ahead to a few verses we can see why.

Jesus replied, “You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Blasphemy! Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?” “Guilty!” they shouted. “He deserves to die!” Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists. And some slapped him, jeering, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who hit you that time?” (Matthew 26:64-68 NLTse).

They asked Jesus to prophecy to them. It seems He already did when the high priest tore open the outer robe to revel the breastplate, a reminder why God is supposed to be consulted on matters of life and death. It was a symbol showing what happens when we put someone between us and God. Eventually people will do everything to lead us away from God while making gods of themselves. That’s the way of the world. When power goes to their heads, it seems like nothing can stop them. That concept was illustrated in Jesus’ ministry that eventually resulted in the loss of His life at the hands of the priests who claimed to be working for God.

For me, this also revealed another important lesson. The day after I wrote this, I went to one of the Bible Studies I attend. The pastor was covering the subject of family structure in scripture. While he was talking, I was suddenly able to put two and two together. When the high priest tore open his robe at Jesus’ trial, he exposed the names representing God’s family. It was something Jesus needed at that moment. Without knowing it, the high priest created a parallel between his torn robe and the torn vail in the temple. The priest opened a view of God’s family and the torn vail represented a direct path to God’s throne for His family.

The lesson didn’t stop there. I have three books where I described that breastplate on the outside of the rode and assumed the high priest didn’t wear the breastplate to Jesus’ trial because he didn’t want to hear God’s opinion. In those books I described a scene where the priest was able to rip that robe because he wasn’t wearing the breastplate. I made the mistake because I was writing based on what I was taught by other people. Take a look at the Internet. Every picture shows the breastplate on the outside of the robe. Moses told us the breastplate is fastened to the ephod or undergarment covered by the robe. This shows how we have to be careful with all the details we’re taught in this world.

This reminded me of another past experience. I was invited to a website to become a so called Bible worker or teacher. The site was run by one of the best known pastors in the church. He was well respected, received invitations to speak all over the world, and paid well for his ministry. The online course consisted of the usual set of doctrines, an explanation, and a supporting verse or two. I read each course and answered the questions at the end, in my own words. I received a series of correspondence from the teachers and directors on that site, telling me to answer the questions from the explanations and verses provided. Their goal was to create a form of unity where everyone gave the same answers. They were breading a set of clones, each person following the direction of that single pastor. They didn’t want people to think. In their minds, there was only one lesson to learn and one correct answer to each question. In reality what they were doing was eliminating God’s Spirit from the process of Bible Study, replacing the Spirit with that one man’s opinion. The church and many people in it praised that pastor for his idea and concept, to blindly follow one man, with one opinion, and one answer. It seems to me, Jesus died to put an end to that type of priesthood. The type of priesthood that puts a man between them and God.

Along the bottom of the robe were a series of designs. Pomegranates were sown in using blue, purple, and scarlet thread. In between the pomegranates were bells so people could hear when Aaron went inside the Tabernacle and when he came out. Moses added another strange detail. “If he wears it, he will not die.” Since this is placed so close to the bells, I would think the sound of the bells was what Moses was drawing attention to.

There was a world wide event, one of the last world wide spiritual revivals. William Miller was given the gift to interpret time prophecies. That was a study all it’s own. If is very focused on the relationship between a number of time prophecies found throughout the Bible. When Miller put those prophecies on a chart, he was able to see a starting point, and an ending point. Once dates were established, Miller saw how prophecies in the Bible indicated time periods between one event and another.

Before Miller could put together his chart, he had to unravel a number of hidden prophecies. He was able to understand a number of prophecies that provided answers to other prophecies, such as a day represents a year, and a month consisted of thirty days. Those are concepts Miller used and are still accepted today by most denominations.

There were a few mistakes Miller made. One mistake centered around the switch from the Hebrew calender, and the one we use today which looks at dates as BC and AD. That mistake shot the date off by a year. The other mistake Miller made is when he interpreted the Sanctuary. Instead of the Heavenly Sanctuary, Miller was convinced the earth was the Sanctuary. That was a big mistake that made Miller preach the wrong message. He was certain those time prophecies pointed to Jesus’ return and the cleansing of the earth. It wasn’t until after the date in October of 1844, Miller saw in scripture, another man saw the Sanctuary being cleansed was in fact the Heavenly Sanctuary.

Hiram Edson saw a vision as he passed through his corn field shortly after what is referred to as the 1844 disappointment. He was given a clear vision of Heaven where he saw Christ entering into the Most Holy apartment in the Sanctuary. Miller’s dates were accurate, but his interpretation was all wrong.

We can see a distinct connection between the hidden stones, the Urim and Thummim, and Miller’s experience. Some things are still hidden, to be revealed only by God when He decides to reveal details. It also served as a reminder showing how dangerous it is to rely on one man.

Many of the details Miller discovered and published are still used today. Some denominations tore apart Miller’s work, using some parts, and throwing others away. But the basic concepts used to study time prophecies have not changed much in the past 150 plus years. But we still face the same problems. It seems the warnings about relying on men to replace a personal relationship with Christ are for the most part, still ignored. Another thing bothers me about that event. Those bells were eventually heard load and clear when Jesus entered the Most Holy place in the Sanctuary. But no one seems to be listening for those bells when He leaves.

Another thing seems to bother me as far as prophecies are concerned. To a large degree it seems this world places its trust in the hands of a few men to interpret prophecies. Most of those men have one interpretation one week, then swing to a totally different interpretation the next week. I’ve also noticed the wide spread use of the proof texts method used to interpret prophecies. Take a single text and use your imagination to come up with an interpretation. Miller’s time studies were far different. Miller used a number of texts to prove the significance of time periods. Miller showed how prophecies are repeated in different books of the Bible and how one chapter explains details not found in other chapters. Miller also made use of the stories those prophecies are recorded in to gain an understanding of what the prophecies pointed to.

Since this book is based on using the sequence recorded in the Bible, I can see another consideration of those materials used in that statue in Daniel. The materials follow a similar pattern to the materials used in the Tabernacle. The head of the statue was made of fine gold. Its chest and arms were silver, its belly and thighs were bronze, its legs were iron, and its feet were a combination of iron and baked clay. (Daniel 2:32-33 NLTse).

The inner part of the Tabernacle consists of gold and silver. Bronze is used in the courtyard. We haven’t seen iron or clay used in the design of the Tabernacle. As we go further away from the Most Holy, we move from gold, to silver, then bronze. The statue in Daniel concerned a time prophecy. Gold represented Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom, Babylon. Silver represented the Persian empire, bronze the Greek empire, and iron the Roman empire.

Now look at the materials in that statue in relationship to the influence and timing of God’s Word and communication with this world. Prophets like Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah were sent during Babylon’s reign as a world kingdom. The Persian empire saw a group of prophets that included Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and others. How many prophets did the next kingdom of bronze see? None. The Greek empire introduced the Greek translation of the Old Testament which was distributed throughout the known world. Two major factions sprang up, Greek and Hebrew theologians. Each were divided into many sub groups and cultures. The two main groups battled over the right to translate symbols in the Bible. Both groups agreed the Bible contained hidden meanings, but couldn’t agree on what they pointed to. Both groups missed the true meaning of scripture, the Messiah and plan of salvation those stories and symbols pointed to.

This all was a reminder not to place trust in men. Hundreds and maybe thousands of the greatest and most trusted minds in the world at that time pumped out interpretations faster than popcorn in hot oil, but not one of them was true. Not one of those men understood the plan of salvation.

That brings us to the forth world kingdom. The one represented by iron, a material not found in the Tabernacle. Neither was any of the philosophy preached and accepted at that time. Hebrews focused in on one type of Messiah, for a large part, they agreed upon. Greeks took a left turn concentrating on a mixture of Old Testament theology, the philosophy Greek religion was founded on, and nature, elements, and astrology. That was the kingdom of iron, a mixture of elements that had nothing to do with the plan of salvation the Tabernacle pointed to.

Jesus came to this world and angels were amazed no one knew. The Bible tells us about two prophets who met Jesus when He was dedicated in the temple. In addition to that, we’re told about a few wise men who saw a star in the sky and knew enough from the Old Testament to know something was happening, a King was about to be born. The rest of the world was in the dark because they lacked the personal relationship with God and His Spirit to understand scripture and God’s timing. The world relied on men of wisdom and failed.

This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength. Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God. (1 Corinthians 1:25-29 NLTse).

As we progress to the toes on that statue, we see how fractured the world really is. They consist of a mixture of iron and clay. Most people accept the interpretation those toes represent a type of division. But little does the world know, nor accept the fact, no where does the Bible mention a single word about ten toes. But twice the Bible pointed out twelve toes. See 2 Samuel 21 and 1 Chronicles 20. Now when we look at twelve toes, we have a few items to compare them to. Jacob had twelve sons. Their names were worn by the high priest. There were also twelve disciples Jesus called. What do twelve toes represent?

Most people like to tell a story someone made up about Rome and the ten nations that represented that kingdom. Historians say Rome consisted of about forty six countries during it’s reign as a world. Those countries have since divided into about eighty five self governed countries, and some of those countries are still subdividing today. Who came up with that interpretation claiming Rome consisted of only ten countries? I don’t know about you, but either those people are wrong, or they are telling us God forgot a few. Correct me if I’m wrong, but if those toes represent the last days, wouldn’t God provide an accurate count if those toes did represent modern day countries?

What avenues do twelve toes open up? When we compare the number of divisions to the family system recorded in the Bible, and the team of disciples Jesus started out with, we open doors to a spiritual interpretation pointing back to Genesis and Exodus, which is where our attention should be focused, on God’s Word, not the world. When we look to the world for answers, based on history, we stand a 99% or better chance of being wrong. God recorded over three hundred prophecies about His Son. How many of them did the Hebrews and Greeks get right?

Medallion of Pure Gold

Exodus 28:36-38 NLTse “Next make a medallion of pure gold, and engrave it like a seal with these words: HOLY TO THE LORD. (37) Attach the medallion with a blue cord to the front of Aaron’s turban, where it must remain. (38) Aaron must wear it on his forehead so he may take on himself any guilt of the people of Israel when they consecrate their sacred offerings. He must always wear it on his forehead so the LORD will accept the people.

All I can say is, stick to the plan. Follow the order God recorded those items and symbols, and wait for God to reveal each one. Otherwise, we are joining the world by jumping around out of sequence, order, and control.

Once again, it appears Moses is out of sequence. We haven’t see any details about the turban. It hasn’t been mentioned since verse 4, and Moses hasn’t described it yet. The turban is a type of hat worn on the head. Here Moses is describing a medallion made of pure gold Aaron attached to the turban. Some how that medallion took on the guilt of the people. What guilt? Was it guilt from sins, or guilt from turning down God’s offer to be a kingdom or priests. We can’t be sure at this point.

Tunic

Exodus 28:39-43 NLTse “Weave Aaron’s patterned tunic from fine linen cloth. Fashion the turban from this linen as well. Also make a sash, and decorate it with colorful embroidery. (40) “For Aaron’s sons, make tunics, sashes, and special head coverings that are glorious and beautiful. (41) Clothe

your brother, Aaron, and his sons with these garments, and then anoint and ordain them. Consecrate them so they can serve as my priests. (42) Also make linen undergarments for them, to be worn next to their bodies, reaching from their hips to their thighs. (43) These must be worn whenever Aaron and his sons enter the Tabernacle or approach the altar in the Holy Place to perform their priestly duties. Then they will not incur guilt and die. This is a permanent law for Aaron and all his descendants after him.

It may appear Moses is adding another piece of clothing to the list. But the sentences that follow mirror the introduction. The first few sentences introduce items of clothing Aaron wore. The last few sum up the list. This is another important Bible Study tool known and the rule of introductions and summations. When the Bible was subdivided into chapters and verses, chapters contained the same key thought, or lesson. The beginning of each chapter introduced the main theme. The end or of each chapter summed up the lesson or story. This pattern is consistent throughout the Bible. But sometimes the introduction and summation are contrasts. They look at the lesson or story using different aspects. Which showed how God takes a balanced look at each subject. Something we often fail to do. Many of the lessons in scripture are taught using contrasts. It is something to watch for and learn from. Many people have a difficult time understanding the Bible because they’ve been taught to look at contrasts as contradictions. Which is another reason not to trust too many people when it comes to studying and understanding salvation.

Moses also provided a brief description of the garments made for Aaron’s sons. One feature sticks out. They’re supposed to wear a type of underwear worn next to the skin. This may not seem unusual except for the closing statement in this chapter. These must be worn whenever Aaron and his sons enter the Tabernacle or approach the altar in the Holy Place to perform their priestly duties. Then they will not incur guilt and die. This is a permanent law for Aaron and all his descendants after him. Since when does wearing undergarments save a life? In this case it does. Moses didn’t tells us why. He was just following directions from God.

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Chapter 13 Courtyard Curtains

Posted by adventbiblestudy on September 4, 2016


Exodus 27:9-21 NLTse “Then make the courtyard for the Tabernacle, enclosed with curtains made of finely woven linen. On the south side, make the curtains 150 feet long. (10) They will be held up by twenty posts set securely in twenty bronze bases. Hang the curtains with silver hooks and rings. (11) Make the curtains the same on the north side–150 feet of curtains held up by twenty posts set securely in bronze bases. Hang the curtains with silver hooks and rings. (12) The curtains on the west end of the courtyard will be 75 feet long, supported by ten posts set into ten bases. (13) The east end of the courtyard, the front, will also be 75 feet long. (14) The courtyard entrance will be on the east end, flanked by two curtains. The curtain on the right side will be 22 feet long, supported by three posts set into three bases. (15) The curtain on the left side will also be 22 feet long, supported by three posts set into three bases. (16) “For the entrance to the courtyard, make a curtain that is 30 feet long. Make it from finely woven linen, and decorate it with beautiful embroidery in blue, purple, and scarlet thread. Support it with four posts, each securely set in its own base. (17) All the posts around the courtyard must have silver rings and hooks and bronze bases. (18) So the entire courtyard will be 150 feet long and 75 feet wide, with curtain walls 7 feet high, made from finely woven linen. The bases for the posts will be made of bronze. (19) “All the articles used in the rituals of the Tabernacle, including all the tent pegs used to support the Tabernacle and the courtyard curtains, must be made of bronze. (20) “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually. (21) The lampstand will stand in the Tabernacle, in front of the inner curtain that shields the Ark of the Covenant. Aaron and his sons must keep the lamps burning in the LORD’s presence all night. This is a permanent law for the people of Israel, and it must be observed from generation to generation.

It seems there is a consistent lack of information Moses failed to record. His description for each item included information on details such as size, color, and materials, but no where does Moses record detailed features. We don’t know what designs on the curtains actually looked like. We don’t know how the Ark was joined at the corners, how large the cherubim were, how they looked, or what they wore. We don’t have any idea what the silver bases at the entrance of the Tabernacle looked like, how much they weight, or how they were cast. We know they must have been of sufficient weight to support the uprights, with a base wide enough to hold up against winds. We have to ask why certain details were included, and why others were omitted.

It would have been nice to have a detailed set of plans such as drawings that listed the size, materials, colors and patterns. But Moses provided nothing of the kind. People working on each part of the Tabernacle had to listen to Moses as he guided them along every step of the process, explaining all the minor details from memory.

It would be nice to know what those curtains actually looked like. By the description given here, we can’t be sure if they are white with blue, purple, and scarlet patterns sown in, or solid colors, using the other two colors for patterns. Thus far, Moses hasn’t provided enough details for anyone to duplicate a model of the Tabernacle. Some people will disagree with that statement, but examine Moses’ record thus far. He didn’t record enough information to duplicate every detail in the Tabernacle.

Why do you think Moses followed this pattern? He was not only shown the pattern for the Tabernacle, he was told which details to record. This is a reminder Israel decided to tell Moses to talk to God then come back and tell them what He said. Moses is not going to give them the full story. They gave up that right when they turned down God’s offer.

We see the same thing happening today. People don’t want to read the Bible. They want someone to read the Bible for them, then give a brief summary of what God says. The world can’t see they are drifting away from God because it has become part of human nature. I wonder how many people read some of those best selling books like, Looking Out For Number One, and other self help, self examination, and self made success books. Movies about the Bible can draw millions to theaters. I’d like to take a survey to find out how many of those people read through the Bible.

It’s not hard to tell a Christian whose never read the Bible from one who has. Christians who never read the Bible will often have one or two pet peeves they complain about, and feel like they earn their way into Heaven by telling the world what bothers them. I refer to them as six shooters. If anything, they have about six proof texts they’ve memorized. They look at those texts as an answer to everything. In a debate, they use up their proof texts in a minute.

People who constantly read the Bible answer questions in a different way. When using scripture, they relate the entire story to a situation or debate. Unlike the six shooter who quickly runs out of ammunition, they dwell deeper and deeper into the stories, drawing on details supporting scripture they started with.

The lesson Moses taught still focuses on lessons God gave Israel to prepare them for the priesthood. God showed them a contrast by showing them how much they gave up. Moses had to rely on God to tell him what was under that gold. Moses had to listen, learn details about each piece, which details to share, and which who to share them with. A barrier was placed between man and God, and God was setting the limits of that barrier. As usual, when God established a new pattern, it included multiple lessons.

Moses gave us the basic size if the curtains and the courtyard. There are no details telling how wide or tall the posts were. Moses also omitted the exact dimensions for the bronze bases and those silver hooks and rings. No one could fabricate any one of those pieces based on the information Moses recorded. Did you notice how Moses repeated the details he recorded, but refused to add to them?

Moses had to make the point, God is still in control. Based on their reaction to His offer and the direction they were heading, God knew He had to take them back to lesson number one, and teach the first lesson shown to Pharaoh. God has control over the serpent.

God provided details down to the tent pegs. Then God gave a command. “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually. The lampstand will stand in the Tabernacle, in front of the inner curtain that shields the Ark of the Covenant. Aaron and his sons must keep the lamps burning in the LORD’s presence all night. This is a permanent law for the people of Israel, and it must be observed from generation to generation.”

God began to introduce an order of service to the Tabernacle. This is where the Tabernacle gets a little strange and we’re faced with a decision. We can either jump ahead to a few details Moses seems to have forgotten, or give Moses the benefit of doubt that he was instructed to follow a particular order when he wrote this book.

Moses was told to observe those instructions from generation to generation. Did God give an expiration date? Eventually the lampstand disappeared along with other items in the Tabernacle including the Ark. Why? It’s tempting to jump ahead. But I am convinced we need to follow the course God laid out in His book. One interesting verse I found to exemplify this point is another Psalm. Your throne is established of old; You are from everlasting. (Psalms 93:2 MKJV). The Hebrew word David used for everlasting means, concealed, or generally time out of mind. David described God as beyond our comprehension. After looking at what Israel did to God, that shouldn’t surprise us. How many people still refuse to talk to God, or don’t believe God talks to us. Generally they seem to want to convince the world, God doesn’t hear us. Or God doesn’t answer. It falls back to the same mentality seen in Eden. After Eve ate that fruit, she had something Adam didn’t. That was part of what drove Adam to eat the fruit. In her own imagination, hopes, and fear, Eve thought she could fix the problem by returning Adam to her equal. Something in Adam couldn’t stand to see Eve have something he didn’t. Making each other equals seemed to be the easy solution, but created another mess. The first lesson God taught in the garden was, sin upset the entire balance in Heaven. It makes people want to have more than others, prove their better, gain an advantage over people. We don’t have to look far into this world to see the effects of sin.

This world is one big cesspool of competition. People compete in sports, jobs, wealth, relationships, and wars. We compete to win, for money, love, land, power, fame and glory. This world preaches competition from birth. We’ve made competition a major past time, prerequisite for employment, and a necessity in religion. Oh yes, religions are geared to compete. They have to. It is the way of the world. It’s how to attract the most members and their money. Listen to how they present arguments to get your money. They present a picture of a balance between blessings and giving. They are the recipient, and your the person blessed. It’s a system churches copied from the competitive business world.

Churches seem to have forgotten how someone summed up the law. Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” (Luke 10:26-28 NLTse).

Have you ever thought about how to love God with all your mind? Was Israel a good example of that when they turned down God’s offer to be priests? What does it take to love God with all your mind today? Does it take a one minute prayer? Church twice a year? A few coins in a kettle around Christmas time? I’m only asking about the mind phase of the question. I’m not asking about any of the physical aspects. What does it take for a mind to love God? What does it take for a mind to fall in love?

What produces that physical change inside a person that makes them think about the person they fell in love with? That feeling they can’t escape every moment they’re awake. What triggers your mind to fall in love? What keeps that love alive and growing over the years. What causes the pain inside when you suddenly loose someone you love?

When David described God, he also described His love as everlasting and eternal. Something beyond our comprehension. If God’s love is beyond our comprehension, isn’t the pain He felt when Israel rejected Him just as strong, eternal, and beyond our imagination?

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Chapter 11 The Separating Curtain

Posted by adventbiblestudy on June 20, 2016


Exodus 26:31-37 NLTse “For the inside of the Tabernacle, make a special curtain of finely woven linen. Decorate it with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and with skillfully embroidered cherubim. (32) Hang this curtain on gold hooks attached to four posts of acacia wood. Overlay the posts with gold, and set them in four silver bases. (33) Hang the inner curtain from clasps, and put the Ark of the Covenant in the room behind it. This curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. (34) “Then put the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement–on top of the Ark of the Covenant inside the Most Holy Place. (35) Place the table outside the inner curtain on the north side of the Tabernacle, and place the lampstand across the room on the south side. (36) “Make another curtain for the entrance to the sacred tent. Make it of finely woven linen and embroider it with exquisite designs, using blue, purple, and scarlet thread. (37) Craft five posts from acacia wood. Overlay them with gold, and hang the curtain from them with gold hooks. Cast five bronze bases for the posts.

Inside the Tabernacle a special curtain was hung between four pole or columns. Gold hooks attached the curtain to the columns. This curtain made a separation between the Holy and Most Holy compartments. The Most Holy contained the Ark of the Covenant. The first room contained the table, placed in the north side, and lampstand on the south side.

Another curtain was made to cover the entrance of the Tabernacle hung in the same manner as the curtain used to separate the Holy from the Most Holy. Moses didn’t mention anything about cherubim or angles on the curtain over the entrance. But Moses did say it had exquisite designs. All of those curtains were made of the finest linen.

Now we have a better picture of the inside of the Tabernacle. One set of linen curtains decorated with blue, purple, and scarlet thread with images of angels covered the back and both sides. That was the north, south, and western walls. The curtains on the north and south walls went from the the Most Holy into the Holy room. They showed a connecting element between the two. A support structure shared the same connection. A portion of those gold covered boards could be seen inside the Holy and Most Holy compartments.

A special curtain was made to separate the Holy room from the Most Holy. It was similar in design to the curtains along the three sides, except it was connected to four gold covered wooden pillars by gold hooks. The curtain covering the entrance on the east side were the same colors as the other curtains but Moses didn’t describe any angels on that curtain. It was also attached to pillars by gold hooks.

Silver bases were also visible inside the Tabernacle. They were used to hold up the walls and the columns supporting the separating curtain and curtain covering the entrance. The columns supporting the curtain at the entrance were held up by bronze bases.

When looking up, gold can be seen. Along the ground, silver bases. At the entrance of the Tabernacle, gold covered columns were supported by bronze bases. At this point we don’t want to assume what those materials represent, or why they are used in their particular locations. When it comes time to examine symbolism, we have to remember this is a pattern of the Tabernacle Moses saw in Heaven.

The Tabernacle is a mixture of splendor and simplicity. It features precious metals of gold, silver, and bronze. Materials mentioned and used as symbols throughout the Bible. The Tabernacle Moses build was a copy of the Heavenly Sanctuary where Jesus judges this world. The book of Hebrews compares details of the Tabernacle and Sanctuary. One of the most interesting points in that comparison is the movement of one piece of furniture from one location to another. Strange as it may seem, Moses was not yet shown that alter. For some reason, God followed His pattern of placing details in His particular order. At this point, it is best to follow the pattern as Moses was shown and just as he recorded it.

When we stray from God’s pattern, we may think we are doing Him a service. But we’ve seen how that turned out with Sarah and some of the other women. We may ask why God offered the priesthood to Israel before they were ready. To answer that question, we have to gain a more complete understanding of the priesthood and how they were to represent God in their ministry. We can’t do that by jumping around from chapter to chapter and book to book. We have to follow God’s sequence and pattern. If we followed the usual method of study some people use, we most likely will miss details. When we stray away from God’s sequence, we are guaranteed to miss lessons locked away in the course Moses dictated.

Since the Tabernacle is also a pattern of Jesus’ ministry, in Heaven as well as in this world, we hope to learn secrets not yet revealed. There are specific procedures the priests had to follow when ministering in the Tabernacle. Are those reflections on Jesus’ ministry, our role as His representatives, or both? Since those steps were recorded for us to learn from, wouldn’t those records showing the view Moses saw in Heaven be just as, or more important?

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Chapter 5 Preparing for the Tabernacle

Posted by adventbiblestudy on June 4, 2016


  • Chapter 5 Preparing for the Tabernacle

    • Bring Your Offerings

      Exodus 25:1-9 NLTse The LORD said to Moses, (2) “Tell the people of Israel to bring me their sacred offerings. Accept the contributions from all whose hearts are moved to offer them. (3) Here is a list of sacred offerings you may accept from them: gold, silver, and bronze; (4) blue, purple, and scarlet thread; fine linen and goat hair for cloth; (5) tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather; acacia wood; (6) olive oil for the lamps; spices for the anointing oil and the fragrant incense; (7) onyx stones, and other gemstones to be set in the ephod and the priest’s chestpiece. (8) “Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them. (9) You must build this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern I will show you.

      Obviously, the first step in any building project is to collect material. That’s where God told Moses to begin. I’ve covered details on those building material’s in a previous book, The Tabernacle: “T” is for the Cross. I am not going to review a lot of details of that book which covered the building materials and construction of the Tabernacle from an engineering prospective. That book is available for download on the Internet.

      To understand the scene, we have to look at how the previous chapter ended. Then Moses climbed up the mountain, and the cloud covered it. And the glory of the LORD settled down on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from inside the cloud. To the Israelites at the foot of the mountain, the glory of the LORD appeared at the summit like a consuming fire. Then Moses disappeared into the cloud as he climbed higher up the mountain. He remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights. (Exodus 24:15-18 NLTse).

      Moses went up the mountain to meet with God. That tells us why chapter 25 began with God telling Moses what to do. The first step was to collect material for the project. All of the materials were to be contributed by the people. This shows us how God’s Spirit was working before God revealed any of the plans for the Tabernacle to Moses. Since we looked at how all the building materials to create this world were in place before God shed light on the subject, we can see how God arranged for Israel to carry every item required for the Tabernacle out of Egypt.

      We have to look deeper into that story. Almost every person who left with Moses was a slave in Egypt. There were a few people who left because of all the plagues and miracles they saw, but we have no way of determining exact numbers. That’s not our concern. We can be assured, God had everything under control.

      Moses used the words, Tell the people of Israel to bring me their sacred offerings.” Israel represents those people enslaved in Egypt based on the prophecy given to Abraham. Then the LORD said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth. (Genesis 15:13-14 NLTse).

      We now have a spiritual puzzle to solve. It’s easy to see the lesson on the surface. People leaving Egypt represented people freed from bondage. That’s the easy part. But here were told, all the materials required to build the Tabernacle came out of bondage. What does that mean? How does it apply to the Tabernacle and our roles in the plan of salvation?

      First of all, we see Israel had to work for 400 years for the materials they carried out. We should stick to the facts on the surface, simple details about those years of bondage that have been reviewed hundreds of times. Sure that bondage represents our life and time here on this world. Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. (John 8:34 NLTse). So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding. (Hebrews 6:1-3 NLTse).

      How do we determine the spiritual significance of those items taken out of Egypt? We know the Tabernacle is a model of the Heavenly Sanctuary. And we know the Heavenly Sanctuary does not contain any materials from this world. Hebrews tells us the clear distinction between the Tabernacle and the Heavenly Sanctuary.

      This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies–physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established. So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood–not the blood of goats and calves–he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. (Hebrews 9:9-12 NLTse).

      The Tabernacle Moses built pointed to the perfect Heavenly Tabernacle and its system. The old Tabernacle passed away, pointing to the passing away of sins and eventual cleansing of this world. Those materials taken from Egypt were never intended to be a permanent structure or place of worship.

      Some of those materials Moses was told to collect were different than materials in Heaven. We’ve not told about tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather in God’s Sanctuary. Those were symbols to remind us what went into the Tabernacle built on this world. They reminded people of the sacrifices that had to be made. The sacrifices that began the day sin entered this world, and God fashioned clothing from animal skins for Adam and Eve. Death is a product of sin and God used a number of ways to keep that reminder in front of us. It was important for God to make sure we didn’t forget the cost of sin. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLTse).

      Take a closer look at the order of materials God gave to Moses. He began with gold, silver, and bronze; then moved to blue, purple, and scarlet thread; fine linen and goat hair for cloth; tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather; acacia wood; He finally added, olive oil for the lamps; spices for the anointing oil and the fragrant incense. God moved from materials that lasted the longest time, to items we consider consumable. God used a designed progression hoping we would notice the process locked away in the list of materials.

      Then God went out of what we would consider a progressive order into a new spiritual order; onyx stones, and other gemstones to be set in the ephod and the priest’s chestpiece. When we follow the specific order God gave Moses, we have to ask, why did God list those last? Are they the materials that were consumed the quickest? On the physical view, no. On the spiritual view, yes.

      Long before the Tabernacle was lost in the pages of the Bible and replaced by a stone temple, materials used in the chestpiece, or high priest’s breastplate lost their significance, power, and symbolic meaning. Later we will look into more details about the breastplate. A slight understanding of the history of the breastplate and Israel will show a few clues. People like king Saul tried to misuse the breastplate. At that time it was taken away from Saul and delivered to David. At times it seemed to be forgotten. The breastplate was used as a form of communication with God. It also contained twelve stones, one for each of Israel’s twelve tribes. After king Solomon, the kingdom was split. Little was mentioned about the breastplate after that. On a spiritual level, the breastplate was lost before services ceased inside the Tabernacle.

      God made certain Moses built the Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern he was shown. Moses saw a pattern of the Heavenly Sanctuary and made a copy of it on this world. It was important not to miss a single detail, so Moses, Israel, and everyone after them would not miss a single detail about Christ and His ministry here in this world and in Heaven.

      One of the things we’ve learned about God’s Word, is how much we learn by looking back. That’s the best way to understand the emotions and trials involved in getting from one phase to the next. To gain and better understanding of those materials, we can go all the way back to the point Moses began the process of freeing those slaves from Egypt.

      Another important part of this story tells about the materials Israel took out of Egypt. Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will strike Pharaoh and the land of Egypt with one more blow. After that, Pharaoh will let you leave this country. In fact, he will be so eager to get rid of you that he will force you all to leave. Tell all the Israelite men and women to ask their Egyptian neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” (Now the LORD had caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the people of Israel. And Moses was considered a very great man in the land of Egypt, respected by Pharaoh’s officials and the Egyptian people alike.) (Exodus 11:1-3 NLTse).

      Moses didn’t record many details about the materials Israel collected from the Egyptians. The strange thing about this event is, this is the first and only time Moses told the people to collect things from previous owners. Moses told Israel what they were supposed to do before he talked to Pharaoh about the last plague, the death of the firstborn. This showed Israel, God knew the outcome before it occurred.

      Imagine all the different attitudes the Egyptians faced. Some Israelites did as Moses commanded and asked for anything the Egyptians wanted to freely give. Others demanded, and a few viewed the situation as a chance for revenge. God said, He would make the Egyptians look favorably on the Israelites. But what about the Israelites? Were they prepared to treat the Egyptians with any type of respect?

      The KJV used the word borrow, instead of the word ask. In a sense, that’s all they did was borrow everything. Generations later, every piece of gold and silver used in the temple returned to Egypt. In the fifth year of King Rehoboam’s reign, King Shishak of Egypt came up and attacked Jerusalem. He ransacked the treasuries of the LORD’s Temple and the royal palace; he stole everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made. (1 Kings 14:25-26 NLTse). It appears the KJV didn’t use the word borrow by accident.

      Another thing I noticed about that event. Moses had to only tell them once. That was one of the few times Moses didn’t have to repeat himself. There’s something about that fact that should worry us. But the event is found in other parts of Exodus and once in Genesis.

      And the people of Israel did as Moses had instructed; they asked the Egyptians for clothing and articles of silver and gold. The LORD caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the Israelites, and they gave the Israelites whatever they asked for. So they stripped the Egyptians of their wealth!(Exodus 12:35-36 NLTse).

      Moses didn’t have to repeat himself or remind them to go door to door asking for things. It was sort of payment for their entire lives as slaves. Israel knew their parents and grandparents were slaves. They didn’t feel they could carry enough to pay for multiple life times of slavery. How would you feel spending your entire life as a slave, and seeing your parents die as slave? Then a day comes along and it’s pay back time. It’s amazing Moses didn’t record anything about Egyptians loosing their lives that day. Something restrained them. The thought of being a priest was sinking in. Hearing screams and cries from across the field all night softened their hearts. God had the right timing in every detail.

      So I will raise my hand and strike the Egyptians, performing all kinds of miracles among them. Then at last he will let you go. And I will cause the Egyptians to look favorably on you. They will give you gifts when you go so you will not leave empty-handed. Every Israelite woman will ask for articles of silver and gold and fine clothing from her Egyptian neighbors and from the foreign women in their houses. You will dress your sons and daughters with these, stripping the Egyptians of their wealth.”

      (Exodus 3:20-22 NLTse)

      This must have been an important event if it was recorded so many times. One of the purposes it served is teach Moses to look back to see how his faith had grown over time. This is something Moses had to teach Israel to do to properly prepare them for the priesthood. Moses didn’t record many details that happened behind the scenes. That’s something we have to approach God’s throne to learn more about. That is one way our faith is formed and sealed. Moses often spoke directly with God. That’s a lesson we need to pay attention to. As we approach God’s throne to listen to His detailed account of what happened behind the recorded story, He explains details in scripture we would never see without His guidance. Which is one step Israel had to learn to become an effective kingdom made up of priests for God.

      The same applies today. How can we become an effective army on God’s side if we don’t listen to orders, or we don’t know the order God uses? We learn about that order in the same way God instructed Moses when He told him to look back and review the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If we’re smart, we’ll see keys pointing us back even further. That’s how God links the past to the present to prepare us for the future.

      Looking at the order of the texts, we see how God prepared Moses. God gave Moses the answer, then later, when Moses needed a boost in faith, reminded him to look back. God does the same with us. God communicates with us the same way He communicated with Moses. God sends us back to review stories in scripture. When we listen, God explains how those stories apply to our lives at that moment. We see how past lessons and events apply to the problems and decisions we face. In this case, the pattern also showed how God made a teacher out of Moses. He had a message to give Israel. One of those lessons included, how to communicate and rely directly on God and how God uses stories from the past to answer questions and guide us on the next step. Everything hinged on direct communication with God. If Israel was going to be ready to accept the priesthood, they had to put away every aspect of the form of religion they were leaving and learn God’s method of worship.

      For Israel, that began with listening to God’s Spirit as they collected every item to manufacture and complete the Tabernacle. God would reinforce that lesson when they looked back to realize what they accomplished without knowing the end result. God’s order was, collect the materials, give the design, then show the people how they served God without leaving out a single detail. It was a lesson showing Israel how to rely on God.

      Man’s way would have been far different. Men would have changed God’s order and totally missed the spiritual lesson. Men would have finalized the design, shared the design with everyone, made a list of materials required, then sent people out to collect every item on the list. We’ve seen how God’s order at creation was different then men would have followed. We’ve also seen the order God used for those plagues was different than men would have expected to follow. God’s plans not only worked, they accomplished much more than any man could have planned. They also locked away spiritual lessons designed for generations to look back on and learn from.

      Then the LORD said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth.

      (Genesis 15:13-14 NLTse)

      God shared His plans with Abraham, who didn’t really understand too many of the details. He had to accept what he was given and apply it to his life. Future generations would look on this prophecy and see more and more details revealed. That was God’s plan which always extends much further and teaches more than anyone could imagine. That is a part of faith few people consider. We have to accept the fact, prophecy is designed to reach one generation on one level, another generation on another level, be fulfilled in one generation, and teach lessons of varying degrees to future generations. To say or think we know everything about a prophecy is to limit, or eliminate God’s Spirit from the process. Common sense should tell you, removing God’s Spirit from a prophecy is a return to the type of priesthood Israel was told to leave behind.

    • Plans for the Tabernacle

      One of the most interesting and important details about the Tabernacle is how every piece was described not once, but at least twice. You must build this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern I will show you. (Exodus 25:9 NLTse).

      Exodus 25:10-22 NLTse “Have the people make an Ark of acacia wood–a sacred chest 45 inches long, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches high. (11) Overlay it inside and outside with pure gold, and run a molding of gold all around it. (12) Cast four gold rings and attach them to its four feet, two rings on each side. (13) Make poles from acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. (14) Insert the poles into the rings at the sides of the Ark to carry it. (15) These carrying poles must stay inside the rings; never remove them. (16) When the Ark is finished, place inside it the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, which I will give to you. (17) “Then make the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement–from pure gold. It must be 45 inches long and 27 inches wide. (18) Then make two cherubim from hammered gold, and place them on the two ends of the atonement cover. (19) Mold the cherubim on each end of the atonement cover, making it all of one piece of gold. (20) The cherubim will face each other and look down on the atonement cover. With their wings spread above it, they will protect it. (21) Place inside the Ark the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, which I will give to you. Then put the atonement cover on top of the Ark. (22) I will meet with you there and talk to you from above the atonement cover between the gold cherubim that hover over the Ark of the Covenant. From there I will give you my commands for the people of Israel.

      Exodus 37:1-15 NLTse Next Bezalel made the Ark of acacia wood–a sacred chest 45 inches long, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches high. (2) He overlaid it inside and outside with pure gold, and he ran a molding of gold all around it. (3) He cast four gold rings and attached them to its four feet, two rings on each side. (4) Then he made poles from acacia wood and overlaid them with gold. (5) He inserted the poles into the rings at the sides of the Ark to carry it. (6) Then he made the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement–from pure gold. It was 45 inches long and 27 inches wide. (7) He made two cherubim from hammered gold and placed them on the two ends of the atonement cover. (8) He molded the cherubim on each end of the atonement cover, making it all of one piece of gold. (9) The cherubim faced each other and looked down on the atonement cover. With their wings spread above it, they protected it. (10) Then Bezalel made the table of acacia wood, 36 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 27 inches high. (11) He overlaid it with pure gold and ran a gold molding around the edge. (12) He decorated it with a 3-inch border all around, and he ran a gold molding along the border. (13) Then he cast four gold rings for the table and attached them at the four corners next to the four legs. (14) The rings were attached near the border to hold the poles that were used to carry the table. (15) He made these poles from acacia wood and overlaid them with gold.

      Exodus 25:23-28 NLTse “Then make a table of acacia wood, 36 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 27 inches high. (24) Overlay it with pure gold and run a gold molding around the edge. (25) Decorate it with a 3-inch border all around, and run a gold molding along the border. (26) Make four gold rings for the table and attach them at the four corners next to the four legs. (27) Attach the rings near the border to hold the poles that are used to carry the table. (28) Make these poles from acacia wood, and overlay them with gold.

      Exodus 37:10-15 NLTse Then Bezalel made the table of acacia wood, 36 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 27 inches high. (11) He overlaid it with pure gold and ran a gold molding around the edge. (12) He decorated it with a 3-inch border all around, and he ran a gold molding along the border. (13) Then he cast four gold rings for the table and attached them at the four corners next to the four legs. (14) The rings were attached near the border to hold the poles that were used to carry the table. (15) He made these poles from acacia wood and overlaid them with gold.

      Exodus 25:29-30 NLTse Make special containers of pure gold for the table–bowls, pans, pitchers, and jars–to be used in pouring out liquid offerings. (30) Place the Bread of the Presence on the table to remain before me at all times.

      Exodus 37:16 NLTse Then he made special containers of pure gold for the table–bowls, pans, jars, and pitchers–to be used in pouring out liquid offerings.

      Exodus 25:31-40 NLTse “Make a lampstand of pure, hammered gold. Make the entire lampstand and its decorations of one piece–the base, center stem, lamp cups, buds, and petals. (32) Make it with six branches going out from the center stem, three on each side. (33) Each of the six branches will have three lamp cups shaped like almond blossoms, complete with buds and petals. (34) Craft the center stem of the lampstand with four lamp cups shaped like almond blossoms, complete with buds and petals. (35) There will also be an almond bud beneath each pair of branches where the six branches extend from the center stem. (36) The almond buds and branches must all be of one piece with the center stem, and they must be hammered from pure gold. (37) Then make the seven lamps for the lampstand, and set them so they reflect their light forward. (38) The lamp snuffers and trays must also be made of pure gold. (39) You will need seventy-five pounds of pure gold for the lampstand and its accessories. (40) “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.

      Exodus 37:17-24 NLTse Then Bezalel made the lampstand of pure, hammered gold. He made the entire lampstand and its decorations of one piece–the base, center stem, lamp cups, buds, and petals. (18) The lampstand had six branches going out from the center stem, three on each side. (19) Each of the six branches had three lamp cups shaped like almond blossoms, complete with buds and petals. (20) The center stem of the lampstand was crafted with four lamp cups shaped like almond blossoms, complete with buds and petals. (21) There was an almond bud beneath each pair of branches where the six branches extended from the center stem, all made of one piece. (22) The almond buds and branches were all of one piece with the center stem, and they were hammered from pure gold. (23) He also made seven lamps for the lampstand, lamp snuffers, and trays, all of pure gold. (24) The entire lampstand, along with its accessories, was made from seventy-five pounds of pure gold.

      The list goes on and on. The Tabernacle is the most detailed structure in the Bible containing more symbols than any other item in the Bible. Why did God go into such detail and repeat those details? As we’ve seen, authors repeat details to draw attention to them. After all, the Tabernacle is a symbol of God’s Son and His ministry. They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.” (Hebrews 8:5 NLTse). The Book of Hebrews serves as a guide to symbols in the Tabernacle.

      Hebrews 9:1-12 NLTse That first covenant between God and Israel had regulations for worship and a place of worship here on earth. (2) There were two rooms in that Tabernacle. In the first room were a lampstand, a table, and sacred loaves of bread on the table. This room was called the Holy Place. (3) Then there was a curtain, and behind the curtain was the second room called the Most Holy Place. (4) In that room were a gold incense altar and a wooden chest called the Ark of the Covenant, which was covered with gold on all sides. Inside the Ark were a gold jar containing manna, Aaron’s staff that sprouted leaves, and the stone tablets of the covenant. (5) Above the Ark were the cherubim of divine glory, whose wings stretched out over the Ark’s cover, the place of atonement. But we cannot explain these things in detail now. (6) When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties. (7) But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. (8) By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use. (9) This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. (10) For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies–physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established. (11) So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. (12) With his own blood–not the blood of goats and calves–he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.

      There’s no doubt, the design of the Tabernacle God gave to Moses was a model of the Heavenly Sanctuary, services conducted in Heaven, and Jesus’ ministry all rolled into one. In short, the Tabernacle is a model of the plan of salvation. The question is, where do we begin? There is a strong urge to jump ahead, or around from subject to subject, or symbol to symbol. Looking at what has been accumulated so far would lead us to believe, God had a good reason to repeat the order of the items in the Tabernacle, as well as the details. We’ve also seen the same process and order used at creation. We’ve also seen how God followed a particular order at creation we may not have followed. But when we stuck with God’s order of teaching, unexpected details were revealed. We can expect to see the same pattern as we study details in the Tabernacle in the order Moses recorded them.

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Chapter 2 The Plagues In Egypt

Posted by adventbiblestudy on April 6, 2016


  • Chapter 2 The Plagues In Egypt

    • The Plagues

      When Moses first returned to Egypt, everyone was filled with high hopes. The God they served sent someone to free them. Then Moses and Aaron returned to Egypt and called all the elders of Israel together. Aaron told them everything the LORD had told Moses, and Moses performed the miraculous signs as they watched. Then the people of Israel were convinced that the LORD had sent Moses and Aaron. When they heard that the LORD was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped. (Exodus 4:29-31 NLTse).

      It seemed like an easy process. Have a little talk with Pharaoh and the problem was solved. It seemed only natural to think, not even Pharaoh would dare to stand up to God. After all, Moses and Pharaoh grew up almost as brothers. If Pharaoh would listen to anyone, it would be Moses. But things didn’t go as smooth as people expected. After his presentation to Israel’s leaders, Moses and Aaron went and spoke to Pharaoh. They told him, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Let my people go so they may hold a festival in my honor in the wilderness.” “Is that so?” retorted Pharaoh. “And who is the LORD? Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I don’t know the LORD, and I will not let Israel go.” (Exodus 5:1-2 NLTse). Can you imagine that? Moses was there to free Israel. Moses was the one God chose to free Israel. But it appeared Pharaoh never heard of God. What lesson does this teach us about our spiritual lives?

      Moses asked Pharaoh to let Israel go on a trip for three days. Pharaoh didn’t want to slow down work on his projects, or give into slaves in any way, shape, or form. That same day Pharaoh sent this order to the Egyptian slave drivers and the Israelite foremen: “Do not supply any more straw for making bricks. Make the people get it themselves! But still require them to make the same number of bricks as before. Don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy. That’s why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifices to our God.’ Load them down with more work. Make them sweat! That will teach them to listen to lies!” (Exodus 5:6-9 NLTse).

      Things went from bad to worse. Imagine living as a slave all your life hearing stories about one day being free. Life is full of pain, toil, hard work, and nothing but disappointments. Then one day an old man walks in, tells you God is here to free you and… what would you think? How would you feel?

      Everyone in Israel felt jubilant. They were happy and hopeful for the first time in their lives. People sang, danced, shouted, and put down their work for the first time in their miserable lives. The next day, everything changed. They felt so low. It felt like a rib was ripped out of them. A promise of freedom turned into a curse.

      Think of that in your own life. How often have you seen hopeless times when it seemed nothing good was ever going to happen. A time when it looked like there was no way out of a situation. Time passed and nothing seemed to work. All you could do is worry. Those worries got to a point they began to take a physical toll. You lost sleep, and had trouble concentrating. It felt like you were sick. You tried everything to take your mind off the problem, but any distraction lasted only a moment.

      It’s times like that we finally question our faith and wish it was stronger. We feel the spiritual battle all around us as well as inside. Israel lived in a spiritual battle in Egypt. Not only was hard labor and evil taskmasters taking a toll on them, serving as slaves in a pagan country added to their trials.

      It always seems as if God waits until the last second to come in and save the day. I’m sure you’ve seen that in your life. Just when things seem darkest, the bright light of God’s hand lights the way. What happens after that? We praise God. But how long do we remember? Do we remember all the times God saved the day when a new and greater trial comes along?

      That’s exactly what happened to Israel. Hope seemed distant. Four hundred years passed before anything happened. Soon after a glimmer of hope showed itself, it disappeared. Israel found themselves in a worse state than they could have imagined. It was a test.

      God knew what was going on. He knew the plans He had for Israel. Preparing Israel to leave Egypt was part of that plan. That’s how we can recognize God’s plans. They always serve more than one purpose. God placed Israel in a position to show their faith, just like He does for us. It was a severe trial, because that’s what they needed. After years in Egypt, a lot of their beliefs rubbed off on Israel and into their worship. We’ve seen how God wanted them to be His nation of priests. They had to know how to worship God and only God to become His priests. The cleansing began as soon as Moses showed up.

      Finding yourself deeper in the hole should not come as a surprise. We should know a little about that spiritual warfare behind the scenes. The enemy is not going to easily give up. That was lesson number one for all generations.

      When we look at the order of plagues God used and know a little about Egypt’s gods, we can see how God began by toppling one god after another. The first thing God had to do was defeat their gods before Egypt was ready to listen. Israel also had to see how powerless those gods they’ve known all their lives were. They had to see those gods were nothing but man made images used to control the masses. That was one of the most important lessons God had to teach. Not only for Israel, but for everyone in every generation. Using images and traditions to control people was one of Satan’s favorite weapons. We’ve seen how he used that trick in Babel.

      Then Moses went back to the LORD and protested, “Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!” (Exodus 5:22-23 NLTse).

      The testing began. Israel was facing an unprecedented degree of brutality at the hands of their Egyptian owners. I wonder how many prayers went up. I wonder how many of them were sincere. I wonder if anyone praised God for sending Moses and beginning the process. If we compare our encounters with God, how do they help us to understand how people in Egypt felt?

      Too many people like to jump ahead thinking about how events in Egypt tells us how things will be in the last days just before Jesus comes back to take us away from this world of sin and despair. Most people think things will continue to go from bad to worse just like they did for Israel. But how many people look at this illustration as the beginning of a walk with God? After all, being born again doesn’t mark the end of troubles. It does mark the beginning of a new series of attacks from the enemy. It also marks the beginning of a new life where old sins, traditions, and beliefs are removed. We never see that change unless we look back. That’s what God wants us to do, learn to look back and remember. Do we learn more by looking back studying our lives and how God has been involved, or by wandering about how things may be in the future? That was Israel’s first mistake. As soon as something happened, they let their minds jump into the future when they should have been looking back at the God their parents, and grandparents talked about. Oh how quickly one generation forgets the wisdom and experiences of the older generation.

      Then the LORD told Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh. When he feels the force of my strong hand, he will let the people go. In fact, he will force them to leave his land!” And God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh–‘the LORD.’ I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El-Shaddai–‘God Almighty’–but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them. And I reaffirmed my covenant with them. Under its terms, I promised to give them the land of Canaan, where they were living as foreigners. You can be sure that I have heard the groans of the people of Israel, who are now slaves to the Egyptians. And I am well aware of my covenant with them. “Therefore, say to the people of Israel: ‘I am the LORD. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt. I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the LORD!'” So Moses told the people of Israel what the LORD had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery. (Exodus 6:1-9 NLTse).

      The first thing God did was point Moses back in time. God confirmed, they had to look back to understand where they were and why. It’s not only our own lives we learn from, we have the ability to learn from other people’s lives, experience, success, and errors. The longer this world is in existence, the more we have to look back on. The older we grow, the more experience we have to draw from. Faith doesn’t come from looking forward to what we want and expect out of life. Faith springs out of past experiences. How can we measure faith by looking at an uncertain future? Although we have a great amount of hope in the final end, Jesus’ return, our faith is based on what we’ve learned from the past.

      The miracles and plagues in Egypt were performed for us to look back on as well as teaching a lesson to Egyptians, Israelites, and reach out to them. Like creation, God used a specific order. The first encounter with Pharaoh was a simple introduction and request. At the second meeting, Moses threw his staff to the ground where it turned into a serpent. Pharaoh’s court magicians did the same thing. But the serpent from Moses’ staff ate the other serpents. What does a serpent remind you of? Moses was sent to Pharaoh with a serpent to show God had control over the serpent, the one who had control over Pharaoh.

      The first plague was an attack on Egypt’s water gods. Egypt had about a half dozen. God didn’t fool around. He went after the most popular, strongest, and largest number of gods in Egypt. God didn’t want to appear to work His way up Egypt’s list of god’s. God was working His way down the list.

      The trap worked. Pharaoh was so furious after all the water in the land turned to blood, he demanded action from his court priests and magicians. There was no way they could turn all that blood back to water. But they worked out a plan to turn some water into blood. Their plan was to show they were as strong and wise as God, but what they did was proved they were controlling their lifeless gods. The magicians just proved their greatest gods were a fallacy.

      The next plague showed God’s sense of humor. After Moses had another meeting with Pharaoh, the blood turned back to water. The next day, frogs came out. Not just a few, millions of them. How could frogs come out of water that was blood the day before? The Egyptians had an answer. It was their futility god making a statement. Frogs represented fertility in Egypt. God placed Egypt in the same position Israel was a few days ago. At first they felt a great joy at the first sight of their god coming out of waters where everything was dead a day ago. Egypt celebrated for a day as they looked at their god save the day. They gave credit to the clean waters to their frog god.

      The priests made another mistake. To claim instant success, they claimed their god of fertility had power of the waters. Okay, which one was it? A few days ago the priests and magicians showed they had power over water. Then they claimed their frog god had power over six other gods. Remember the meaning of Babel on the surface? Egypt was displaying a bit of confusion while God continued to show a glimpse of His sense of humor.

      What do frogs eat? Bugs. If the land was covered with frogs, and they all suddenly died, what excuses do you think the quick thinking priests and magicians came up with? One of their main excuses hinged on food. The frogs simply starved to death. But wait a minute. A few days ago those frogs were being praised for cleaning up the water. Or at least helping the water gods. But the frog gods couldn’t make anything to eat?

      And the LORD did just what Moses had predicted. The frogs in the houses, the courtyards, and the fields all died. The Egyptians piled them into great heaps, and a terrible stench filled the land. But when Pharaoh saw that relief had come, he became stubborn. He refused to listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had predicted. So the LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Raise your staff and strike the ground. The dust will turn into swarms of gnats throughout the land of Egypt.'” So Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD had commanded them. When Aaron raised his hand and struck the ground with his staff, gnats infested the entire land, covering the Egyptians and their animals. All the dust in the land of Egypt turned into gnats. (Exodus 8:13-17 NLTse).

      That excuse of starving to death only lasted a short time. All those gnats made the wise men in Egypt look foolish. Imagine having a gnat make you look foolish. Can’t you picture God looking down and every once in a while, get a little chuckle at what people were doing or thinking?

      God decided to give those Egyptian gods a rest. Egypt didn’t look at gnats as gods. They weren’t that desperate. They must have figured it would be difficult to scare people with a gnat god. The next plague was a little larger. God took away the gnats, then brought in flies. Now they wished those piles of dead stinking frogs could come back to life to take care of those flies. Pharaoh demanded action. Bringing back piles of dead frogs to life seemed like the obvious thing to do. People stood around swatting at those flies, wandering what those wise men were going to do. The worst thing about the situation was, one of their most important gods were now food for flies. Pharaoh’s religious foundation was falling apart.

      Next God moved to the economy. God didn’t have to defeat all their god’s in the open. He had to leave a few for people to look at and make up their minds on their own. That’s what they were supposed to do, start using the knowledge God gave them. After God raised a list of questions about Egypt’s most important and powerful gods, it was time to go after the things those gods were supposed to bless or control. God went after their cattle. The cattle God plagued were a mixture of Egyptian deities, and common animals. If all that blood, frogs, gnats, and flies didn’t catch their attention, maybe hitting them where it hurt would work. God moved into their pocket books.

      Be honest. Don’t most of your worries have something to do with money? Now put yourself in their position. Those Egyptians spent their entire lives making money from their Israelite slaves. When God hit them in their pocket books, He changed another detail to teach a lesson. Only Egyptian cattle died. The Israelite cattle was untouched. God was fulfilling His promise to protect and defend the poor and broken hearts, not to mention broken backs and spirits.

      If hitting them in their pocket books wasn’t personal enough, God had another plan moving from their animals to the people. Think of it. How scared would you be if you spent the past few days going out to look over your dead animals. Your already depressed and worried. Suddenly you wake up with boils all over your body. People felt like they were about to die. Fear wasn’t close to describing what they felt. They had no where to turn. The priests and magicians were covered in boils. Everyone was. They realized, in the state they were in, Israel could easily come in and overpower them. Some of the highest ranking people tried to convince Pharaoh to let Israel go. But he still didn’t want to listen.

      It got to a point most of the people were convinced all they had to do was get rid of Israel and everything would get back to normal. But Pharaoh was the most stubborn man on earth. And God wasn’t only looking for a way to free Israel, He was trying to find a way to get Egypt to repent and change. It was like moving a mountain. God could move any mountain with a single word. But what about the people and animals on that mountain? He wouldn’t want to harm them. God has the same concern whenever He tries to reach anyone.

      With more personal plagues, God moved from cattle dying, to boils, to hail. Once again, Israel was unaffected. Egypt could look over the fence to see Israel was protected. All they had to do was cross over to find out more about the God protecting Israel. That hail storm was a call to come out of Egypt. But did they listen?

      Moses recorded the most brilliant series of military maneuvers in the history of spiritual warfare. God showed He had control over the serpent, then proceeded to prove it. He beat up on Egypt’s strongest and most popular gods. When God had them on the ropes, the enemy had no choice but to show he was the one who created and controlled those gods. God had the enemy prove those gods were an illusion. What a move, having the enemy inflict the first major blow upon themselves.

      God wasn’t done using the god’s Egyptian priests created against them. In their confusion, God used their frog god to show how confused the priests were. While they were trying to explain how one lessor god had to rescue a larger number of more powerful gods, people began to see how their explanations didn’t make sense. Their eyes began to open.

      Using the smallest of creatures, God reminded Israel, He created this world. God pointed Moses back to Abraham, but those gnats pointed them back to creation when He brought them up from the ground. The combination of water followed by dry ground wasn’t something the enemy saw coming.

      Usually frogs eat flies. But this time it was flies dining on frogs. When God used tiny creatures to show His power over their gods, people began to pay attention. If that wasn’t enough, removing their wealth should have gained their attention. That was the perfect time to set His people apart, showing His love and protection to a less than perfect race of people while havoc rained down on the wealthy upper class who created that separation in the first place.

      God’s tactical moves showed how He reached out to people where they were by using common things already present in their lives. To Israel, that should have reminded them of how God had all the materials in place before He started creating this world. God only had to prove He still had control over all the elements. Not the gods the enemy created. How can you control something that didn’t exist?

    • The First Passover

      Finally God hit Egypt where it really hurt with a plague aimed at their most personal target. One that couldn’t help but expose what all those plagues pointed to, their future. God gave them a warning before He struck the final blow. You have to realize. The only thing that could save the firstborn in Egypt was blood from a lamb or goat. God already killed off the cattle in Egypt and their entire food source. God showed them they were spiritually starving. Their was only two things they could do to save their children. They could go to the Israelites to borrow a lamb, which they couldn’t return. So they had to purchase one. Pay an Israelite? They had to bury a lot of pride to do that. Their only other choice was to join an Israelite family inside their home for the Passover meal. Dine with an Israelite? That was impossible. They would rather die. God left the choice to them.

      In Israel, people had to put yeast out of their homes. Then they had to go into their flocks to choose the best lamb. They had to bring it home and give it special care for a few days before they slit its throat and roasted it whole over a fire. What a series of symbols. The perfect lamb, pointing to Jesus. The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29 NLTse).

      They had to care for that lamb, get to know it. The children that lamb was going to save would have to feed it. Some children fell in love with their lamb. Fathers had to explain to their children why they had to kill the lamb and how that lamb was going to save their oldest son. People had no choice but to step up and be the priest of the house to save it. They had a choice.

      First God had to end their connection with idols and make believe gods. The beginning series of plagues showed how the priesthood in Egypt was a man made system designed to control people. God showed how He was in control of the smallest creatures and how they could achieve great things at His direction. God showed how he can use little creatures to consume and destroy Egypt’s gods. While stripping away Egypt’s riches, God displayed the protection available to His people. God opened the door for the first lesson of the priesthood He was establishing, to help their neighbors. The next lesson was to follow instructions to protect their families.

      The plagues in Egypt served many purposes. We’ve seen God use the same pattern at creation. Every step in the process taught new lessons, built on previous lessons. Among other things, those plagues built up to the gift God gave Israel when He restored the priesthood. First God had to purge out the old systems of worship polluting Israel. Once the yeast or leaven was purged, it was safe to fill those empty vessels with something new. The priesthood was one of the most important details presented to Israel before they left Egypt.

      Exodus 12 covers specific details for the Passover. The animal you select must be a one-year-old male, either a sheep or a goat, with no defects. “Take special care of this chosen animal until the evening of the fourteenth day of this first month. Then the whole assembly of the community of Israel must slaughter their lamb or young goat at twilight. They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the sides and top of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the animal. (Exo 12:5-7 NLTse).

      At this point it is important to remember major details so when we study ceremonies in the Tabernacle, we know where they came from. That way we can go back and examine the Passover from the aspect of the Tabernacle.

      On that night I will pass through the land of Egypt and strike down every firstborn son and firstborn male animal in the land of Egypt. I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt, for I am the LORD! But the blood on your doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt. (Exo 12:12-13 NLTse).

      It is so tempting to jump ahead. There are so many details in future stories and chapters this relates to – I’m sure your thinking of a few. It’ll let you and the Spirit review a few of them. Maybe that will make a writer out of you.

      I am going to stick to what I’ve been doing so far – looking back. I’ll try to contain myself by looking forward to as few details as possible. The important part here is executing judgment on Egypt’s gods. Those plagues began as an attack on Egypt’s gods. At the last plague, God explained it was time to execute judgment on those gods exposed in the beginning. This is another example showing God’s process is far different than ours. Most people would attack those false gods and pass judgment on them all at once, or pass judgment on them, then attack them. Which is the way of the world for a long time.

      God used those plagues to expose those idols as false gods. Those priests and magicians were also exposed. God presented evidence. Once it was all in, judgment was passed. God followed His order. The same order we should follow.

      God used blood as a sign. A symbol between Him and people who chose to follow Him, and follow orders. God gave a specific set of instructions for the Passover as a test. A test that separated His people from those who wanted to think on their own. Or people who wanted priests, magicians, and other leaders to think for them. Neither one of them could substitute for God. I got news for you, the same is true today. Instructions had to be followed. That blood had to be visible on both sides and top of the doorposts, or they would loose their firstborn son, and animals. There were no exceptions or excuses. There were no second chances.

      “This is a day to remember. Each year, from generation to generation, you must celebrate it as a special festival to the LORD. This is a law for all time. For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast. On the first day of the festival, remove every trace of yeast from your homes. Anyone who eats bread made with yeast during the seven days of the festival will be cut off from the community of Israel. (Exo 12:14-15 NLTse).

      This served as another reminder to look back. I’m glad I didn’t miss this one. We’re still supposed to celebrate the Passover. But these days we look at it as Jesus’ resurrection which has to be the most important day in the history of the universe. At least this world. Can you imagine all those angels looking down wondering why so few people know what that day most call Easter is celebrated the way it is? One rule of Bible Study tells us, symbols always point to something far greater. What did that Passover lamb point to? An Easter bunny? Is that greater than a lamb? Is an Easter bunny greater than Christ? If you go into stores, he is.

      What are we supposed to remember about that Passover for all generations? We covered a few of those details. Not to place faith in priests, magicians, and leaders is one of them. Relying on idols to make life easy is another one you don’t want to forget. If you want to get into details, you may want to remember some of the lessons those plagues taught, like caring for and helping your neighbor. Even if they were the owner you had to serve all your life. Oh, some of those lessons may be a little hard to look back on. There are other details. I can guarantee if you looked back, every year God will show you details you never saw before. So looking back is far more than remembering. It leads to learning something new.

      God also reminded them to leave that yeast behind. Jesus did the best job of explaining what that yeast represented. Then at last they understood that he wasn’t speaking about the yeast in bread, but about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Mat 16:12 NLTse). I bet you could hear that light bulb switch on. There is a direct connection between the deceptions taught in Egypt and all those taught in every generation since that time. Now you see why God told them to keep this festival every year? “What else is the Kingdom of God like? It is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.” (Luk 13:20-21 NLTse). Jesus used Heaven as an example of how things should spread. The same is true with false gods and idols. One false thing can spread throughout the whole lump.

      That night the people of Israel left Rameses and started for Succoth. There were about 600,000 men, plus all the women and children. A rabble of non-Israelites went with them, along with great flocks and herds of livestock. (Exo 12:37-38 NLTse). Moses made it clear, more than Israelites made that trip out of Egypt. We have to remember this and figure out how it applies today.

      Then the LORD said to Moses, “Dedicate to me every firstborn among the Israelites. The first offspring to be born, of both humans and animals, belongs to me.” So Moses said to the people, “This is a day to remember forever–the day you left Egypt, the place of your slavery. Today the LORD has brought you out by the power of his mighty hand. (Remember, eat no food containing yeast.) On this day in early spring, in the month of Abib, you have been set free. (Exo 13:1-4 NLTse).

      This was such an important event, God reset the calender to coincide with the first day of the year, set in spring. Anyone who lives in a northern state living through long, cold winters can tell you what spring is like. It is a time when the ground springs back to life. New life is seen all around. It is a reminder of the new life and world God promised us.

      God claimed all the first born for Himself. He saved them and they became His. This is another reminder of the day we’ll leave this world to go to the real promised land in Heaven. God filled every phase of the Passover with simple symbols to look back on. All of those remind us of better days ahead some of us refer to as eternity. They also point to stories about Jesus. Some stories He taught. His disciples told other stories and explained many details. In other words, they explained exactly what those symbols pointed to. This would turn out to be a long chapter if we began looking into all of them. It would be better if you searched out and viewed a few of those stories. You can use a chain reference in your Bible. Most Bible programs for computers come with chain references.

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Chapter 1 Creation and The Genesis Promise

Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 26, 2016


  • Chapter 1 Creation and The Genesis Promise

    • Creation

      I’ve had dozens of details about the Tabernacle, stone temple, and Heavenly Sanctuary dancing around my head for months. There are so many stores related to the Tabernacle throughout the Bible, as well as many stores showing how the stone temple swayed from one religion to the other. One of the most neglected messages in the Bible may be the Heavenly Sanctuary. I’m not sure if anyone has taken the task of writing a book to look at similarities and differences between the three. I’ve read a few books that combined the Tabernacle and stone temple as if they were one of the same. After I looked into a few of the actual details, materials, and symbols used in the stone temple, I began to see an obvious pattern as well as lessons to consider.

      One rule I’d like to follow throughout this book is to be consistent using the three names. The Tabernacle refers to the Tabernacle built by Moses. The stone temple, better known as Solomon’s temple, and following structures on the same site will be referred to as the temple. Sanctuary will refer to the Heavenly Sanctuary. For the most part, the KJV consistently followed the same rule. The KJV consistently translates Hebrew and Greek words the same throughout chapters and books in the Bible. When conducting a word search, I usually rely on the KJV’s consistency to quickly locate key words in chapters and books throughout the Bible.

      Of course I prayed before starting this book. I asked, where is the best place to begin a story about the Tabernacle? I never thought of this before, but the answer I received was obvious. At the beginning. When I thought of the answer, it made sense. What does the Tabernacle basically represent? The story of salvation. Where does that story begin? In Genesis chapter 1.

      When we see water in the Tabernacle, we should be reminded of one or more texts about water. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.(Genesis 1:1-2 NLTse). What better place to begin than at the beginning. What better way to understand the spiritual meaning of water than to look at where it all began. The Bible placed a link between the Spirit and water before creation began. Of course, the proper way to interpret the spiritual meaning of any symbol is to look at the story the symbol is recorded in, and the previous story. That is not only common sense, it is what is known in Bible Study as context. In this example, the author provided a definite link between the Spirit and water.

      We also see another symbol used in the Tabernacle introduced in Genesis. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:3-4 NLTse). This is another detail to consider when we look at how light is used in the Tabernacle. God created that light, both physical, and what we’ll see, spiritual.

      God shed a little light on a planet covered in water, His Spirit. Next God needed something to complete the next step. That was land. Where was the land? It was always there. God had to bring it to the surface. What happened to the water? Land came to the surface as water moved below the land. God’s Spirit is still over the water, that water only moved position.

      God also created a space or separation between the land and heavens, referred to as sky. Then God brought vegetation out of the land. Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation–every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened. (Genesis 1:11 NLTse). Notice how vegetation sprouted up from the land. You have to pay attention to the order of creation to understand the process.

      Most people glance over this story. Then point out the obvious, God spoke things into creation. They missed a large portion of God’s works, perfection, and planning. Everything was in place before God began His work. So far all God had to do was put it in order. This is a vital point to know if you plan on understanding anything in the Bible as well as how God works in your life and how God works in this world.

      God had a planet with His Spirit covering everything. What does that tell you? If you know God, it means everything is in order for it’s time. Notice how the author recorded time periods called days? When we see anything repeated, we know we have to pay attention. We also have to look at details repeated words and comments have in common. In this case, every item was in existence in one form or another before God went to work. God put each item in perfect order for the next step.

      The Spirit cover the water, that covered everything. The water covered all the land, that God moved into position. The land contained everything required for all the forms of vegetation to spring out of it. After another day, the world was ready for the next step.

      But first, lets look at how this story was constructed by the author. If we can’t understand how the author constructed a few sentences in a story, how are we ever going to understand how God put this planet together?

      And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day. (Genesis 1:11-13 KJV).

      God didn’t take all the credit. He gave some of the credit to the earth. “Let the earth bring forth grass.” God directed the change, but everything required for the next step was inside the land before God spoke. Why is this important to know. If we are going to understand the plan of salvation, it all begins with understanding God and His personality. God gave credit to dirt.

      This is where God threw in a little curve in the process to see if we are paying attention. God likes it when we think, but we still need to depend on Him. If we were creating the world, our process most likely would be, light, which would include the sun, moon, and stars. Then move the land on top of the water, make plants, then animals. But God used His process so we don’t forget, God’s ways are not our ways, and that will always be a mystery to us. Look at the light. What was that first light if the sun, moon, and stars were created on the forth day? Those were items that weren’t in place on this planet before creation began. God used His process to remind us, there is a bigger, smarter force in this universe than us.

      We also see time periods repeated, which is an important factor to consider in all forms Bible Study. So far we’ve been taught the lessons, to rely on God, expect the unexpected, and look at the time periods involved. These are all important factors involved in the study of the Tabernacle, temple, and Sanctuary. More people get lost by confusing or ignoring obvious time frames.

      And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. (Genesis 1:20 KJV). Here we see the same pattern repeated. Except this time, water brought creatures and fowl or birds. It seems rather unusual for birds to come out of water. Another example of looking for the unexpected in God’s Word. We can’t assume anything. We have to look at the process God followed if we ever hope to understand anything.

      Look at the fundamental teaching tools God used. He introduced a process only He determined. Then God used all the birds and creatures in the waters to illustrate a point. We can’t hope to understand all of those creatures. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist. They are living, eating, breathing, duplicating, doing everything God created them to do.

      God wasn’t finished with His new world yet. It needed a few extra details. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. (Genesis 1:24 KJV). Why didn’t God create fish, birds, and animals on the same day? That’s a question no one can answer. That’s one of those questions you’ll have to ask God. As we progress through the story of creation, we will see God’s reason for putting that detail in the story of creation. Now we have to look at where those animals came from. ” Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind.” God gave credit to the earth, or dirt again. Why?

      God wanted to stress the balance He created. We can tell balance is an important detail to see, based on the fact, details pointing to it were repeated. Authors always repeat key points to draw attention to them. It’s our job to slow down, notice them, and ask God’s Spirit to explain them.

      Now we’re faced with another detail God repeated. We’re first given evidence of a countless number of fish and birds to consider. Added to that were a countless number of animals, insects, and other creatures. Each one of them is beyond our imagination, not to mention our comprehension.

      People like to point out the power of God’s Word. They like to point out, God created all of those details with a single word. I wonder if they realize the page in front of them is filled with God’s Words, and each of them has the same power as the word He used to create.

      We see a specific process. A process created and followed by God. We’re also reminded of how little we understand. The vast number fish, birds, and creatures God created are His witnesses to that fact. What we need to see is how all of these facts related to God’s Word.

      We can’t hope to comprehend all of God’s Word any more than we can understand all the fish, or birds, animals, or other creatures. Some people think they have the Bible figured out. They claim to have all the truth. And most likely, those same people claim God no longer talks to this world. How could that be? Don’t we still have water? As long as we have water on this planet, we have God’s Spirit.

      And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:26-27 KJV).

      As God continued the process of creation, He also continued the lessons. Look at the way the history of first man was recorded. The first point God made was, He made man in His image. That is a major point to consider. What is an image? Can an image do the same things the original can do? Can an image take over for the original? Let’s take a look at that word image.

      Image H6754 tselem

      From an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom, that is, (figuratively) illusion, resemblance; hence a representative figure, especially an idol: – image, vain shew.

      We see how the definition of the word image can go much deeper than most people consider. No matter how we choose to look at man’s image of God, the fact remains, God gave Adam dominion over everything. Why? So we can understand God’s character. God created man and woman, and gave everything to them. God didn’t hold anything back. God gave it all. There was no way for Adam and Eve to pay them back. They didn’t have anything to give to God. Everything they had was supplied by God. The lesson is, God could have never finished His creation or called it very good if He had not given them and us an example of unconditional love.

      How many people consider the key ingredient of love in creation? Just because it’s not mentioned by name doesn’t mean it wasn’t present. After all, didn’t John say, “God is love.” Is this world so caught up with the word love, they can’t see its presence unless the word is spoken? What is more important in your life, the word or the action?

      I wonder why people skip over this part of chapter 1 where God showed He created man and woman together, and jump over to chapter 2, where we find a more detailed account. Here we have an example where the author recorded an event, then later filled in more details. It’s a style of writing used throughout the Bible. As we can see, God spent time to teach a lot of the fundamental rules of Bible Study at creation. Now we can see why this is a good place to begin.

      There may be questions regarding the reason man and woman were created together in the first account, while the detailed account in chapter 2 shows how God formed Adam first, them created Eve. Part of that answer is found in the gift God gave them and how God created Eve. God gave them the whole world and unconditional love. God formed Eve from one of Adam’s ribs as an expression of that unconditional. An example or symbol showing their connection, as well as reliance upon each other. Adam will never be complete without His rib, and Eve would not exist without it.

      When we reach chapter 2, we see the process of creation repeated. Why? This shows us it an a very important lesson. To understand the whole story, we have no choice but to compare each record of the story verse by verse. Together we get a much better view of the story. God keeps adding one important detail about Bible Study after another. If someone wanted to write a book about Bible Study, they could explain most of the important aspects using Genesis and the story of creation. Oh yes, God has a sense of humor to. We can see it in the way He plays hide and seek with His words.

      After putting this world in the proper order, telling the sea and ground to send up their hidden treasures, God looked around. Everything was beautiful and ready for the next step. There was an open spot on the ground that appeared like God had a job to do before finishing his creation. God knelt down at that open spot and began to gather some of that dirt together in a long narrow mound. Once He had a adequate supply of dust gathered from the earth, God went to get the next ingredient. It needed a little bit of water. God mixed in just the right amount for the right consistency. Angels above looked down in interest as a number of different animals and birds gathered around. Taller animals like giraffes politely moved to the back to allow shorter ones a good view. Birds had no problem as they occupied every branch in site. Every once in a while God stepped back from His work to look at the details and look up at the breath taking colors of the birds and flowers. It would have been impossible for anyone to complete the task in a day with all the animals and birds playing and trying their best to get God’s attention. But God stayed focused as He worked with that clay forming arms, legs, hands, fingers, and all the details of the apex of His creation.

      God stood up, brushed the dirt from His knees and hands. Looked around at all the animals and birds waiting to see what was happening. He gave then a smile before returning to one knee, putting his lips on the molded mouth of His image on the ground and blew into it. Excited chatter and song broke through the area as the clay image took on additional detail, changed color, and began to move. Its eyes opened. It raised its hands in the air examining their detail. God placed His hand under one arm to help the first man to his feet.

      The first thing God wanted to do was plant Adam a garden. God started with a few trees, making sure they were exactly where Adam wanted them. Then God filled the scene in with a few bushes displaying the most unusual flowers. Near the front of the path God planted all different types of flowers for Adam to enjoy. Creatures watched as God worked in the ground to make that garden special for Adam. Once the garden was finished, God looked around, then declared, it was time to name all the creatures. God sent out the signal and every living creature passed in front of God and Adam two by two. They had so much fun naming all those creatures. But Adam noticed something. Every pair of animals showed little differences between male and female. Adam looked at himself in a pool of water, then over at God. He noticed they were the same. That’s when Adam wondered where His mate was.

      God had a reason for making Adam wait. He wanted Adam to learn a few things it was important for Him to know. Something that would set him above the animals. Something to make Him feel special. God told Adam he had to sleep for a while, and there would be a surprise for him when he woke up.

      God placed Adam in a deep sleep to open him up from front to back. God took out a single rib from around Adam’s heart and closed up the wound. I wonder why God had to open up Adam to take out that rib. Wouldn’t it have been easier for God to just make Eve from the same dust He used to make Adam? Or why didn’t God pull a rib out without opening Adam up? And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. (Genesis 2:21-22 KJV).

      We only have two verses to look at. This also brings up another important Bible Study method to learn. Whenever you see something unusual, anything that doesn’t seem to make sense, dig deep for the answer. There are generally two methods I use to dig deeper. Whichever method you use, the first step is to listen to that quiet whisper of God’s Spirit inside you. More often than not, God provided the answer before He posed the question. The role of God’s Spirit is to direct you on the proper path to find that answer. You know your on the right path and found or heard the right message when you look at the answer and see how simple it is. Then you ask yourself why you’ve never seen it before. In this case, looking at the texts, we see an unusual word – instead. It doesn’t seem to fit. That’s the signal to look deeper. Look up the definition.

      INSTEAD H8478 tachath

      From the same as H8430; the bottom (as depressed); only adverbially below (often with prepositional prefix underneath), in lieu of, etc.: – as, beneath, X flat, in (-stead), (same) place (where . . . is), room, for . . . sake, stead of, under, X unto, X when . . . was mine, whereas, [where-] fore, with.

      H8430 toach

      From an unused root meaning to depress; humble; Toach, an Israelite: – Toah.

      Don’t you find it interesting how God inserted a word that explains what we feel like when we loose our spouse? Have you ever felt the physical pain of a separation or divorce? Think about that. You have to know what that pain is before you can understand why God provided the answers by giving us that clue.

      Looking back at previous texts, and there is not a lot to review at this point in the Bible, what do you see? The first point is, we are created in God’s image. Does that mean God has a missing rib? It means God feels a depression every time He looses someone. So take your pain and multiple it by a few hundred million and then your in God’s position. Then you can see why Jesus was pierced under His rib and why He carries the open wound. Now you can begin to understand why Jesus had the disciples inspect that wound. He wanted that close observation to leave an impression on them.

      Look at how this world views that rib. Look at the figures they use for that rib. The all look like a straight line or number 1. God didn’t take out a piece of a rib. God took out the whole rib from front to back. That rib doesn’t look like a number 1. It stands for the unity of 1. It stands for two becoming one. But it does not stand for looking out for number one. The full rib looks like a C if you look at it one way. Held the other way, it looks like a U. Either way, it has an open end. The rib protects the heart, while still having an open end. Only God can fill that open end like only God could take that rib and make a woman out of it.

      And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:23-24 KJV).

      To understand this portion of the story in its proper context, we have to look at who said this. It is Adam speaking, not God. Adam knew a little bit about what happened, but give the guy a break, he was only one day old. He didn’t know how the body worked, but he did see a physical connection. He knew he was connected to Eve by flesh and bone. In a prophet voice, Adam pointed to another connection. Where are blood cells produced? This is really good because God had to make a point. He had to put science in their place somewhere in this story about creation and He did it here. Blood is produced in bones. Science is not sure how the body does it, or how those blood cells get into the blood stream. All they know is, when they cut open a bone, it is filled with red blood cells. The rest is a mystery, and science, no matter how hard they try, cannot reproduce the process. Science should be humbled at God’s creation.

      This also introduced the concept of blood. Adam and Eve shared the same flesh, bone, and blood. When we look at the Hebrew meaning of the word man used in the creation story, we find it means mankind. It does not refer to only the male of the species. Adam made that clear by expressing his thoughts on his union with Eve.

      Can you image the look on Adam’s face when He looked up and saw God and Eve standing over him? Then God gave them a special job. He told them to tend the garden He made for them. Let your mind wander over the sights, sounds, and smells of that scene for a moment and think about what God did. He set aside a special day to spend with them on the first honeymoon in history.

      God also gave them the ability to reproduce. This may not seem like much, but it set the scene for the next story in creation. Lucifer was furious. Those creatures were only a day old and they had a gift Lucifer never had. Not only Adam and Eve, but all the animals, birds, fish, and bugs were able to reproduce. Lucifer had a jealous streak as wide as the horizon. He didn’t like God’s arrangements at all and he wanted to do something about it.

    • The Deception

      Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (Genesis 3:1 KJV).

      Satan began the conversation doing what he’s best at, lying. He knew there was only one tree God told Adam he could never eat from. Satan insisted that wasn’t true by insinuating there was more than one tree. Eve made a mistake by attempting to correct the master deceiver by herself. That was the only opening Lucifer needed. He had been deceiving angels in Heaven longer than Eve could imagine. Eve should have consulted God on the matter. Scripture showed, Eve had direct access to God and could go to Him for advice. She could have went to her husband for advice. If he was smart, he would have told her to wait until after discussing the matter with God before addressing the question. But Eve began a long series of mistakes along this line, making decisions before consulting God. We will see this mistake repeated as we progress through a study of the temple.

      Eve ate the fruit and shard it with her husband. Later God found them in the garden wearing fig leaves to cover themselves. Then God conducted the first sacrifice in the history of the universe. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21 KJV). No one could have guessed at the cost of sin. The universe, as well as Lucifer and his followers watched God take the lives of those first sacrifices with His own hands. The universe watched this world fall apart as flowers faded, leaves died, animals began killing and eating each other, and Adam and Eve were rejected from the garden. Angels were concerned with the changes, so God took measures to comfort them. God introduced the concept of death in His Kingdom by restricting the life span of all the creatures in this world, including mankind. Even the weather changed. No part of nature in this world escaped the consequences of sin.

    • Summary of Creation

      In the creation story we’ve uncovered a number of key pieces that play a key role in the system established in the Tabernacle. Some of those details relate to materials used in the Tabernacle, while others are related to the sacrificial system. God showed how all the key elements required to create this world were in place before He began. We will see the same pattern when it was time for Moses to construct the Tabernacle and all the items associated with it. We also saw how blood was introduced inside the rib God used to from Eve. The blood was inside, hidden from view, but was still present. This showed how Adam, Eve, and the entire human race shared the same blood, until it was perfected in Jesus, the perfect sacrifice.

      We’ve also seen how God introduced key elements of basic Bible Study in the first two chapters of Genesis. These patterns are keys to understanding all scripture, as well as the Tabernacle, temple, and Sanctuary. We know to look for the unexpected. When God used an unexpected pattern, it is a signal to seek guidance from His Spirit. God has His own timing, and it may not agree with ours. Words and phrases repeated in texts lead us to the main thought and theme. Unusual words can open up a whole new understanding when we look up the original Hebrew meaning. This is also true for Greek used in the New Testament. We’ve also seen how Bible writers introduce a subject then fill in details in later chapters. This is a pattern throughout the Bible and from book to book. We’ll be using and reviewing all of those study methods and more as we progress through this book.

    • Cain and Abel

      No one could have guessed Adam and Eve would have two children and the older would kill his younger brother. To try to apply a spiritual meaning to the older brother Cain and younger brother Abel would be impossible at this point, since the sequence of stones has not given us a clue. We do know Cain murdered Abel over their personal views of an acceptable sacrifice. We can keep this in mind as we progress on our study of the Tabernacle, it’s sacrificial system, and compare it to those seen in the temple.

      It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out, this chapter is a brief introduction to the sacrificial system, as well as the first example showing the innate desire for people to make a few changes to God’s system. As the term applies, it seems like the desire to compromise with God on every detail is given to us at birth. That is the downfall and burden of being born in a world of sin. We should learn that lesson well, based on the fact, Cain was the first son born in this world.

      And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: (Genesis 4:3-4 KJV). Right from the beginning, brothers argued on the subject of sacrifice. That argument continues today. We will see examples of man made changes when we study the sacrificial system God gave and compare it to what actually happened.

    • Noah’s Ark

      It didn’t take long for things to turn bad in this world. We see one story about Enoch, who walked so close to God, he eventually joined God in Heaven. There were a number of people who continued to follow God, but things got so bad, God had a talk with Noah and had him build an ark. That ark was not a forerunner or pattern for the Tabernacle, but it was a sort of symbol pointing to it. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.(Genesis 6:14 KJV). Once again we see a strange word repeated. Pitch is one of the most unusual words in the Bible. The Hebrew word, like many others, and English words, has more than one meaning. We wouldn’t know that until we look. Once again, the author brought our attention to this word by repeating it.

      PITCH H3722 kaphar

      A primitive root; to cover (specifically with bitumen); figuratively to expiate or condone, to placate or cancel: – appease, make (an) atonement, cleanse, disannul, forgive, be merciful, pacify, pardon, to pitch, purge (away), put off, (make) reconcile (-liation).

      Bitumen is another word for tar. Don’t forget the KJV is an old English version of the Bible and some of the old English words are different than what we use today. The real surprise is found when we look at the second meaning of the word – make (an) atonement, cleanse, disannul, forgive, be merciful. We can see how that covering on Noah’s ark was designed to point to Jesus’ sacrifice.

      Problems in this world that led to its destruction began with disagreements about the sacrificial system. I could write another book about how some churches, particularly church leaders are continuing to make that mistake. Not in regards to the physical sacrifice, but the spiritual sacrifice in respect to serving God and receiving His spiritual gifts.

      When Noah stepped out of that ark, he did two things. And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. (Genesis 8:20 KJV). As soon as Noah came out of that ark, he displayed his understanding of the sacrificial system and taught it to his three sons and their wives. The sacrifice is like book ends. One is at the beginning of the family structure at the very beginning pf sin. The other is at a new beginning as soon as Noah left the ark.

    • Babel

      And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. (Genesis 11:4-6 KJV).

      Once again, things went bad and God had to step in. This time He just gave them different languages to scatter them over the land. In this story, the people wanted to stay together, the old adage of strength through numbers. This example showed, that kind of reasoning doesn’t work with God. Men can’t outvote God to cancel or change His plans.

      In this story we see people getting together to build their own from of worship, a tower, a new way of shaking their fists at God. This time God stepped in early and handed things in His own way. When we look at this story, the word Babel is introduced. Most people know this is the word Babylon is based on. Most people also know Babel means confusion, which is the meaning on the surface. When we dig a little deeper, we find Babel is derived from another Hebrew word.

      H1101 balal

      A primitive root; to overflow (specifically with oil); by implication to mix; also (denominative from H1098) to fodder: – anoint, confound, X fade, mingle, mix (self), give provender, temper

      H1098 belyl

      From H1101; mixed, that is, (specifically) feed (for cattle): – corn, fodder, provender.

      The word Babel leads to confusion, but how is that confusion spread? Looking a little deeper, we see it comes from feeding cattle a mixture. It shouldn’t be difficult to see how that relates to how many Christians relate to, or define Babel or Babylon in a spiritual sense. The meaning goes beyond confusion. The spiritual meaning includes control. Most often it points to control by one person, or organization. At least now you know where that meaning comes from, and how to explain it. And you got another review in using a Concordance and the Hebrew dictionary that comes with it.

    • Introduction to the Promised Land

      The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3 NLTse).

      Abram was the first to receive information about the promised land. This is another detail someone could write a book on. Abram’s life took many twists and turns. In the long run, Abram provided a son to carry on the promise. This showed the beginning of a long process that took generations to fulfill. Later we will see how the Tabernacle also points to that promised land like an arrow on a road sign.

      There are a number of interesting details in Abram’s journey you can look at on your own. How Abram separated from Lot. Abraham’s two sons. His journey into Egypt and how it related to Issac’s time in Egypt, Jacob’s, and Jesus’ call to go to Egypt. When you look at them, look at the related details, as well as the differences or contrasts, which lead to an explanation of their spiritual meaning. But Egypt has little to do with the Tabernacle, except for the fact its materials came from Egypt.

      What we are seeing is a pattern of related stories, when combined and investigated, reveal a deeper spiritual meaning. Like a flower blooming, you miss most of the story if your only interested in the end result. The effect and beauty will soon fade, but the lesson will be missed. If you only look at the mature flower, what will you learn about the nature of the flower? Wouldn’t your connection be based solely on self gratification?

      You have to look at every story like God described the life of a flower. It may have been a brief summary, but that short story showed a few important steps. The flower springs up from the ground. It is a gift from God. It requires some care and attention. God’s Word is His flower, a special gift to us. His Word needs some care and attention, some tender loving care to appreciate its full beauty. And we’ve seen how God recorded those instructions to care for His Word, and appreciate it.

    • From Abraham to Jacob

      There are a number of stories that apply in part to the Tabernacle. Jacob gave us a glimpse of a small part of the Tabernacle when he fled his home and met God in the wilderness. As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway. At the top of the stairway stood the LORD, and he said, “I am the LORD, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. (Genesis 28:12-13 NLTse). It may be a small part, but we need some insight to the angels used in the curtains in the Tabernacle. Jacob also needed to be reminded who was in charge of the real birthright.

      Jacob’s mother was confused about the birthright. She thought the birthright involved all of Isaac’s flocks, riches, and servants. She wanted all of that for Jacob, the son she loved. So she concocted a plan, it was nothing more than a series of lies and deceptions she told her son, Jacob to follow. Once Jacob was removed from his mother’s influence, God had to have a little chat with him to show Jacob where the real blessing was. Not in the words of his father he received through deception, but in God’s plan. Jacob tells us a small portion of that plan and agencies God has at His command to fulfill that plan. Here we see a contrast between worldly views on God’s plan of salvation and God’s way of doing things.

      Adam received everything God created and freely shares it with his wife. There was no question. God didn’t hold anything back and neither did Adam. But there was a test. Eve went to that one tree she was told to stay away from. Why? Everything in this world was not enough for her. She had to see what that one thing she was missing was all about. She was easy prey for the serpent. All he had to do is promise Eve something she didn’t have. And she fell for it.

      As soon as she realized what happened, she tried to think of a way out of the situation. The only solution she could think of was to get everything back in balance the way it used to be. She had something Adam didn’t. Maybe making Adam her equal would make everything alright. Eve convinced Adam he had to take the one thing she had to offer. It seemed innocent enough. But they forgot, this was the one way of being disobedient to God. After giving them time to think about what they did, God had to meet with them and remind them it was a mistake.

      Isn’t that the root of all the problems we see in this world today? People are always trying to gain something they don’t have. Something they think they should have. It started out with something simple, a piece of fruit and grew from there. Abraham faced the same problem with Sarah. Once Sarah learned about the plan of salvation, she thought she had to take matters into her own hands. She didn’t understand God’s power. The easiest solution at the time was for Abraham to have a son from another wife. Image the emotions involved in that decision. If it didn’t feel like Sarah was getting her rib torn out, she must have had a heart of stone. That had to hurt beyond imagination. In a way, Sarah felt God’s pain as the plan of salvation progressed and He saw how people didn’t understand what He showed them. It seemed like people had to tinker with His plan every step of the way.

      Like Eve, Sarah had to try to fix matters on her own. Their mistake was not consulting God before taking action. After making her decision, then finding out it was wrong, Sarah made the same mistake. She tried fixing the problem herself. She sent Abraham’s second wife and his firstborn son, Ismael away. Sarah introduced another emotion that leads to poor decisions, jealousy.

      God’s plan wasn’t changed by Sarah’s attempts to make it better or move it along a little faster. But that pattern didn’t stop with Sarah. Abraham had a second son with his first wife Sarah, just like God planned. There was one story where Abraham was told to sacrifice his son Isaac. It didn’t make sense to go through all that trouble, then sacrifice Issac. God sent Abraham on a long journey to a mountain. This gave Abraham time to look back on all the details about his life. Another important lesson about Bible Study. If we don’t take time to look at our lives and how everything we’ve been taught fits together, we are missing part of the lesson. Once Abraham understood what God was showing him up to that point, it was time to move forward. Not only was the sacrifice of his son an object lesson, God had a surprise for Abraham.

      Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. At that moment the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!” “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. (Genesis 22:10-13 NLTse).

      That ram pointed to the type of substitute God needed to teach this world about. Eve tried to fix the problem with her version of a substitute. Sarah tried to introduce her version of a substitute. Neither one of the fit God’s plan.

      Isaac married Rebekah. Abraham sent a servant to find a wife for Isaac. He had to pay a large sum of money to buy Rebekah. That had implications that took a toll later in Jacob’s encounter with Rebekah’s family. Rebekah had twins, which introduced a new complication. People had traditions that basically gave the majority of the father’s inheritance to the firstborn son. Later God introduced this concept through Moses. Jacob and his brother Esau were born minutes apart, but Esau came out first. After they grew up, Rebekah loved Jacob more than Esau and saw how Jacob loved God. As far as Rebekah was concerned, Jacob was the only choice to receive Isaac’s blessing and inheritance.

      Didn’t Rebekah think God saw what happened? Didn’t Rebekah realize God planned the birth of her twin sons and the order they were born? Rebekah didn’t realize that was all a test of her faith. She was too busy making her own plans to listen to God. Hence, we have another example of a simple rule of Bible Study. Take time to listen to God and look for the unexpected. When we look back on those stores, we can see how simple God’s plan was as well as lessons taught through each experience. When we take time to study details, we can see how foolish our plans can be and how God will set certain events in motion to teach us lessons designed to draw us closer to God and learn to rely on Him. Once we look back on what those lessons have in common, we can’t help but see, each of them is a way God is asking each of those people to talk with Him. Can the lessons get any easier than that?

      When Jacob arrived at what was termed as the land in the east where he met Rachel, he opened a new can of worms. Jacob spent seven years working for Laban for Rachel’s hand in marriage. After spending seven years, Jacob never saw how deceitful Laban could be. Laban substituted Leah for Rachael. We can see over all those years, Jacob forgot to talk to God about getting married. Leah gave Jacob six sons. The sons of Leah were Reuben (Jacob’s oldest son), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. (Genesis 35:23 NLTse). Levi led to Aaron, who was the first priest in the Tabernacle. Judah led to king David.

      Finally, Jacob reached a point of deep depression, worrying about meeting his long lost brother and the safety of his family. Jacob tried to come up with the best plan he could think of. That’s when God had to step in to show Jacob what he was doing. During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two servant wives, and his eleven sons and crossed the Jabbok River with them. After taking them to the other side, he sent over all his possessions. This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. (Genesis 32:22-25 NLTse). Jacob wasn’t only wrestling with his problems, he was wrestling with God. Jacob was reminded about that lesson with every step he took the rest of his life.

      There is another lesson in a pattern we see with Abraham and Isaac. Abraham began his ministry by traveling, moving at God’s command. When he remained in one place, problems seemed to follow. But when Abraham moved, he was blessed. Then Pharaoh gave Abram many gifts because of her–sheep, goats, cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels. (Genesis 12:16 NLTse). You can read the other examples. Abraham’s son also went through the same sequence of events.

      A severe famine now struck the land, as had happened before in Abraham’s time. So Isaac moved to Gerar, where Abimelech, king of the Philistines, lived. The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt, but do as I tell you. Live here as a foreigner in this land, and I will be with you and bless you. I hereby confirm that I will give all these lands to you and your descendants, just as I solemnly promised Abraham, your father. When Isaac planted his crops that year, he harvested a hundred times more grain than he planted, for the LORD blessed him. He became a very rich man, and his wealth continued to grow. He acquired so many flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and servants that the Philistines became jealous of him. (Genesis 26: 1-3, 12-14 NLTse).

      Both times, God sent them there to avoid a famine. Both Abraham and Issac were blessed after following God’s orders. Both times they lied about their wives. You can read the stories yourself. Look at details that are the same or similar, as well as looking at the contrasts. The key here is to notice the relationship between moving, the promised lands, and how they were blessed. As long as they remained moving, and following God’s orders, God blessed them. Even after they made mistakes, God continued to bless them. We will see how this fits into lessons about the Tabernacle and temple later in this book.

      The next one to find himself in Egypt was Jacob’s son Joseph. We have to be careful here and look at details. Joseph wasn’t sent into Egypt in the same manner as Abraham and Isaac. Joseph was carried to Egypt and sold as a slave. The beginning of another lesson. God is making sure we pay attention to details. But God did send Jacob to Egypt. During the night God spoke to him in a vision. “Jacob! Jacob!” he called. “Here I am,” Jacob replied. “I am God, the God of your father,” the voice said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. But you will die in Egypt with Joseph attending to you.” (Genesis 46:2-4 NLTse).

      If you know the story about Egypt, bondage, plagues, and the exodus, you know it contains a lot of details as well as symbols. Some apply to the Tabernacle, others apply to other phases of the plan of salvation. The Exodus began with one of the most important stories to understand. We pick up that story in the next chapter.

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Zechariah 6:9-15 Rebuild the Temple

Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 24, 2016


Zechariah 6:9-15 Rebuild the Temple

Zechariah 6:9-15 NLTse Then I received another message from the LORD: (10) “Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah will bring gifts of silver and gold from the Jews exiled in Babylon. As soon as they arrive, meet them at the home of Josiah son of Zephaniah. (11) Accept their gifts, and make a crown from the silver and gold. Then put the crown on the head of Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. (12) Tell him, ‘This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Here is the man called the Branch. He will branch out from where he is and build the Temple of the LORD. (13) Yes, he will build the Temple of the LORD. Then he will receive royal honor and will rule as king from his throne. He will also serve as priest from his throne, and there will be perfect harmony between his two roles.’ (14) “The crown will be a memorial in the Temple of the LORD to honor those who gave it–Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Josiah son of Zephaniah.” (15) People will come from distant lands to rebuild the Temple of the LORD. And when this happens, you will know that my messages have been from the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. All this will happen if you carefully obey what the LORD your God says.

Its not hard to see this prophecy relates to building up a spiritual temple. You would think the fulfillment is explained by describing the spiritual temple is made up of Jesus’ followers. But the chapter has to agree with the introduction to Zechariah 6. In the first part of this prophecy, we see three men bringing gold and silver from Babylon to make a crown for Jeshua. In the last study we saw Jeshua was the high priest, and a symbol pointing to Christ. Ezra tells us Jeshua was one of the leaders who left Babylon to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. The workers at the Temple of God were supervised by Jeshua with his sons and relatives, and Kadmiel and his sons, all descendants of Hodaviah. They were helped in this task by the Levites of the family of Henadad. (Ezra 3:9 NLTse). This may make one think the prophecy points to the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. But the next verse jumped forward in time to Christ. Here is the man called the Branch. He will branch out from where he is and build the Temple of the LORD. So you may think the prophecy points to a particular event in Jesus’ ministry. The very next sentence pointed even further. Yes, he will build the Temple of the LORD. Then he will receive royal honor and will rule as king from his throne. Some people may think this pointed to the disciples ministry after Jesus’ resurrection. But Jesus is crowned King after He completes the judgment process. So why does this prophecy seem to cover so many points in time? Most people will think something like this is normal in the Bible. So they take out one little sentence and explain it in their own words, move onto the next, explain that, and so on and so forth. Some people use prophecies like this one to justify their simple form of study referred to in this world as proof texts. But does God scatter around His Words like seeds hoping one or two will sprout while the rest are left to the mercy of birds, thrones, and the sun? We have to give God more credit than that. We have to learn to look deeper into the prophecy to find the consistency God placed there. Man many be happy thinking he creates the consistency, but when we find God’s consistency, we uncover secrets lying below the surface hidden for generations.

We’ve seen this same pattern in the study, Isaiah 60:1-16, Let Your Light Shine, which contained a prophecy which seemed to span generations. In that study we were shown a new method of study in which the introduction of the chapter containing the prophecy mirrored the summation of the chapter containing the fulfillment. It seemed God turned things upside down. That was another prophecy waiting to be fulfilled. It seems orders are reversed when we deal with prophecies that will be fulfilled after the great judgment. Why would God decide to turn things around? Maybe it’s not God. Maybe it’s us who are looking at the fulfillment of prophecy upside down and in the wrong order.

Since this prophecy has so much to do with time, and we know understanding God’s timing is one of the most difficult theories to understand, let’s take a look at the world’s view of time and compare it to God’s concept of time. We wake up in the morning to begin our day of work. We work all day and call it the end of a day in the evening. But God looks at a day in opposite terms of what the world teaches. God’s day begins in the evening. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. (Genesis 1:5 KJV).

This prophecy also deals with worship. But the world’s concept of worship is quite the opposite of what God teaches. People go to church where a finely dressed choir raises their voices to Heaven. Everyone looks up at the brilliant stained glass windows adorning the walls. The ceiling of the church reaches upward drawing people’s attention up to Heaven. Prayers are sent up to Heaven. People look up at a preacher perched high on the podium designed to draw all eyes upward. The preacher’s prays to send his words upward so they will reflect down to reach the ears of the people. Everything in churches is designed to draw people’s attention up. Why are churches designed that way? Jesus explained how to worship. Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luke 18:10-14 KJV).

One man looked up to Heaven and lifted himself up to God, much like church services are designed to do today. The other man would not look up to Heaven, but humbled himself, confessed his sins, and pleaded with God. The Pharisee represents church services today. The other represents the close, personal, one on one relationship, and worship Jesus is looking for. Is He finding it?

The last study also taught us how to look at names to see what they add to the study. The same is true in this case. In this prophecy we see three names. Look at what we find when we pay attention to the unexpected. Those details the world misses.

Heldai H4480 Þà Þà Þ min minni^y minne^y min, min-nee’, min-nay’

For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses: – above, after, among, at, because of, by (reason of), from (among), in, X neither, X nor, (out) of, over, since, X then, through, X whether, with.

Tobijah H2900 ØÕÑÙ ØÕÑ t#o^bi^ya^h t#o^bi^ya^hu^ to-bee-yaw’, to-bee-yaw’-hoo

From H2896 and H3050; goodness of Jehovah; Tobijah, the name of three Israelites and of one Samaritan: – Tobiah, Tobijah.

Jedaiah H3048 ÙÓâ yedaya^h yed-ah-yaw’

From H3045 and H3050; Jah has known; Jedajah, the name of two Israelites: – Jedaiah.

When we combine the meanings of the three names, we see they contain a specific message related to the lesson in this prophecy. After the goodness of Jehovah is (has) known. How does this relate to the prophecy? We can’t see it yet. The hidden lesson says, “after.” Here again we’re faced with a choice. We can follow the course the world follows, or we can learn from scripture to see what goodness from Jehovah this lesson has in store for us. Solomon had a taste of that knowledge. Look how he summed up the first Proverb.

“How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded? How long will you mockers relish your mocking? How long will you fools hate knowledge? Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise. “I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come. I reached out to you, but you paid no attention. You ignored my advice and rejected the correction I offered. So I will laugh when you are in trouble! I will mock you when disaster overtakes you– when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster engulfs you like a cyclone, and anguish and distress overwhelm you. “When they cry for help, I will not answer. Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me. For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the LORD. They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way, choking on their own schemes. For simpletons turn away from me–to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency. But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.” (Proverbs 1:22-33 NLTse).

One of the chapters this prophecy leads us to is Hebrews 6. Zechariah 6:9-15 deals with rebuilding the temple during different periods of time. Hebrews 6:19-20 focus on one event when Jesus entered into the Most Holy located in the inner Sanctuary. It is the beginning of a new step in the process. Hebrews 6 showed us another series of lessons over a period of time. It begins with an oath or promise given to Abraham. First Abraham was given the promise. Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised. Hebrews jumped ahead to the time it was written. Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. Hebrews repeated those key words oath and binding to show how important they are, because that promise exists over many generations. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. Hebrews also pointed to the future. We now have two details which seem unrelated to the world, but God provided a common bond between them. God’s promise and oath and the rebuilding of the temple extend over long periods of time. God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. Neither has the design of the Sanctuary been changed. That is why the Tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals. For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. (Hebrews 9:23-24 NLTse).

Hebrews 6:13-20 NLTse For example, there was God’s promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to swear by, God took an oath in his own name, saying: (14) “I will certainly bless you, and I will multiply your descendants beyond number.” (15) Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised. (16) Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. (17) God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. (18) So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. (19) This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. (20) Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.

The spiritual rebuilding of the Temple could not take place on earth. It can only take in the Heavenly Sanctuary where Christ returned to minister. That is why this world cannot understand God’s plan of salvation. They have been trained by self proclaimed spiritualists to look at the world for answers. Spiritualism has a grip on this world it cannot see because it hides behind a cloak. It is camouflaged like a leopard, blending into the back ground. People don’t see themselves practicing spiritualism because they don’t see themselves relying on their inner being. Spiritualism has many forms. Most people are familiar with two forms. The first is easy to see. Spiritualist claim to talk to the dead. The Bible tells us, The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered. (Ecclesiastes 9:5 NLTse). When the Bible tells us the dead know nothing and the world tells us the dead are living in Heaven with God and they claim to have the power to contact them, who should be believe? Let’s check the context of Ecclesiastes 9.

This, too, I carefully explored: Even though the actions of godly and wise people are in God’s hands, no one knows whether God will show them favor. Better to have wisdom than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much that is good. (Ecclesiastes 9:1, 18 NLTse). Ecclesiastes 9 teaches us about that spiritual battle all around us. When God tells us the dead know nothing, He is telling us not to listen to them. The world tells us just the opposite. Lessons on that spiritual battle continue in the Psalms.

For the dead do not remember you. Who can praise you from the grave? (Psalms 6:5 NLTse). The dead not only don’t know a thing, they don’t have a memory or the ability to praise God. So why do people claim they learn how to praise God from dead people? Where is that information coming from. Once again, we see the evidence of that spiritual battle when we check the context of Psalms 6.

O LORD, don’t rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage. May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified. May they suddenly turn back in shame.(Psalms 6:1, 10 NLTse). Other Psalms repeat the same lesson.

Are your wonderful deeds of any use to the dead? Do the dead rise up and praise you? Can those in the grave declare your unfailing love? Can they proclaim your faithfulness in the place of destruction? Can the darkness speak of your wonderful deeds? Can anyone in the land of forgetfulness talk about your righteousness? “What will you gain if I die, if I sink into the grave? Can my dust praise you? Can it tell of your faithfulness?” The dead cannot sing praises to the LORD, for they have gone into the silence of the grave. (Psalms 88:10-12, 30:9, 115:17 NLTse).

Speaking to the dead is not as popular today as it was in the past. Only a small number of people use that from of spiritualism, which is easy to detect. Another from of spiritualism, usually adopted from eastern teachings deals with self reliance, contacting ones inner self. It is a popular belief widely accepted by western cultures under the disguise of theories like looking out for number one. It became so popular, churches began adopting different forms of this philosophy to capture they vast numbers of people flocking to this new age movement which promised prosperity. Churches us this philosophy behind the scenes to control those large groups of people they attract. It would be too easy to see spiritualism if they taught people to rely on their inner being. So the enemy described in Psalms, placed it a step further down where fewer people are able to recognize it. Church boards and leaders adopted that eastern from of spiritualism called self reliance. They rely on themselves to come up with answers. They search for an answer to solve a multitude of problems. They search for one method of teaching to reach masses. They rely on themselves to create rules pleasing to most people. They create interpretations to prophecies designed to scare the stuffing out of people. Look at those prophecies they claim are real. Those religious leaders have no fear of claiming the interpretations came from the world. This country fits this symbol. That country explains that symbol. They provide interpretations to scripture and symbols with physical evidence taken from the world and offer no other proof than to ask people to trust in their self proclaimed wisdom. That is spiritualism at its worse. Modern spiritualists rely on themselves and world events to interpret the Bible and teach people to rely on them. That’s why people can’t see the from of spiritualism running wild in churches today. Spiritualist teach people to rely only on things they can see, touch, and hear. That’s why people have forgotten how to rely on God’s Spirit and cannot see the spiritual lessons in God’s Word.

The prophecy in Zechariah 6 tells us about the rebuilding of the Temple over a period of time. Hebrews 6 tells us about Jesus’ ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary when He enters into the Most Holy. Hebrews explains why Jesus entered into the Most Holy. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. That is one reason. There are other details to learn. Jesus replaced the Levitical priesthood. This new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron’s descendants became priests without such an oath, but there was an oath regarding Jesus. For God said to him, “The LORD has taken an oath and will not break his vow: ‘You are a priest forever.'” Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God. (Hebrews 7:20-22 NLTse). Hebrews also explained why Jesus replaced to old form of priesthood. Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever. (Hebrews 7:27-28 NLTse).

Jesus entered the Most Holy to take His position as High Priest. As High Priest, Jesus is able to offer Himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. It sounds simple doesn’t it? It always is when we allow scripture to explain scripture. Not only was the Temple rebuilt, but the system within it. Not rebuild on worldly terms, but spiritual terms all of us can understand. The earthly forms of sacrifice along with the worldly way of understanding has passed away. Now we look to Heaven for the answers. Jesus not only entered the Most Holy but opened a direct path for us to God’s throne. And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says, “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the LORD: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he says, “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices. And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:15-25 NLTse).

There is a relationship between the remission or forgiveness of sin and a direct connection with God. I can’t explain it. No teacher in this world can explain that relationship between the forgiveness we receive from Jesus and the direct path to God’s throne He opened for us, other than what we’ve been shown in God’s Word. Jesus died for both of them. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. The only thing we can determine based on the details we’ve been given is, Jesus’ blood cleanses us so we are able to approach God’s throne. To find out more about that connection, you’ll have to claim that promise, along with the blood Jesus shed for you, and approach God’s throne on your own.

That’s why you’ll never see anyone in corporate worship approach God’s throne. That’s because they’ll have to confess each sin before claiming Jesus’ blood to cleanse them. They cannot approach God’s throne until they are cleansed. Who do you know is willing to publicly confess each sin so they can approach God’s throne in public? No one I know. But that should not stop them from teaching you Hebrews 10. As a matter of fact, Hebrews 10 directs us to teach people. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. We’re supposed to meet together to motivate one another so each of us knows why Jesus shed His blood and each of us knows how to boldly approach God’s throne. This is not a matter only discussed in board rooms or reserved for specially educated people. This is a right Jesus died for that everyone needs to learn. This is a part of the rebuilding process in the Heavenly Sanctuary. Paul told us God’s Spiritual house is for all of us. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:20-22 NLTse).

Those three names in Zechariah 6 lead us in the right direction. We have to learn from God. If there is any doubt, look at the introductions to the two chapters and ask questions. Pray, have Jesus’ blood cleanse you, approach God’s throne and ask Him.

Zechariah 6:1-8 NLTse Then I looked up again and saw four chariots coming from between two bronze mountains. (2) The first chariot was pulled by red horses, the second by black horses, (3) the third by white horses, and the fourth by powerful dappled-gray horses. (4) “And what are these, my lord?” I asked the angel who was talking with me. (5) The angel replied, “These are the four spirits of heaven who stand before the Lord of all the earth. They are going out to do his work. (6) The chariot with black horses is going north, the chariot with white horses is going west, and the chariot with dappled-gray horses is going south.” (7) The powerful horses were eager to set out to patrol the earth. And the LORD said, “Go and patrol the earth!” So they left at once on their patrol. (8) Then the LORD summoned me and said, “Look, those who went north have vented the anger of my Spirit there in the land of the north.”

I had to pray about Zechariah 6:1-8 for a few days before I was ready to hear what it means. The world has a hundred interpretations on Zechariah 6:1-8. They look at the symbols of the chariots and horses and look for something in the world to explain their spiritual meaning. By doing so, they misinterpret their spiritual meaning and completely miss the lesson. Zechariah did the only smart thing he could do. He asked the angel who came from Heaven. The angel replied, “These are the four spirits of heaven who stand before the Lord of all the earth. They are going out to do his work.” You have to ask what work they are going to do. The angel told Zechariah those chariots and horses will go out in all four directions. We can see they are going through the whole world. What are they doing? The powerful horses were eager to set out to patrol the earth. And the LORD said, “Go and patrol the earth!” So they left at once on their patrol. What does it mean to patrol? Remember, we are in a spiritual battle. When a commander sends people out on patrol, they don’t confront the enemy. Their roll is to remain unseen. Get it? How can those symbols represent anything in this world we can see, hear, and touch if they God them to go out and patrol? The original Hebrew word has a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively. The main thought is to walk and carry a message. What is that message?

The only hint Zechariah gave us is in the last sentence. Then the LORD summoned me and said, “Look, those who went north have vented the anger of my Spirit there in the land of the north.” When we look at the spiritual meaning of north we see why God’s anger is vented in only one direction. “How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.'” (Isaiah 14:12-14 NLTse). Satan claims the north as his throne. Whatever message God’s Chariots and horses are carrying is not going to be accepted in the north. How do we find what that message is? Since we are working on parallel chapters, one with a prophecy, the other with its fulfillment, the introduction to Hebrews 6 would be the most logical place to look.

Hebrews 6:1-12 NLTse So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. (2) You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. (3) And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding. (4) For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened–those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, (5) who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come– (6) and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame. (7) When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God’s blessing. (8) But if a field bears thorns and thistles, it is useless. The farmer will soon condemn that field and burn it. (9) Dear friends, even though we are talking this way, we really don’t believe it applies to you. We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation. (10) For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do. (11) Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. (12) Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.

We can see the message in the key words. Teaching, understanding, instruction, and enlightened explain the basics. Hebrews fills in some of the details with other key words. We need to mature and move forward in the power of the age to come. Hebrews tells us to move on from the basic teachings about Christ. Hebrews 6 tells us to get off the same subjects we hear preached time and time again like some kind of repetitious prayer which avails nothing. God looks at that kind of teaching as if it were nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.

Now that we know the message is new and where to get that message from, directly from God’s throne, we know what those symbolic chariots and horses are looking for, people willing to learn. Are you one of them? How many people do you think they’ll find? Look back at a few other stories when God searched the world for people to learn. It began with Adam and Eve. We saw the first results with their first two sons. Cain the oldest killed Able the younger. There was one left, and Cain was not willing to learn. Moses could only find eight people, including himself to learn the message he was given to preach. In Sodom, those angels could only find four people. One short of saving the city. The trend continued. When Jesus was born, only two prophets knew the Messiah was born and where to find Him. When Jesus died, it seemed no one understand His ministry or why He had to die on that cross. This world just doesn’t want to listen. How many people do you think those chariots and horses are going to find who are ready, willing, and able to learn? How many are going to fall victim to that power from the north? There are a lot of questions to ask when you approach God’s throne.

There is another chapter with some interesting details you can study on your own. Are you willing to approach God’s throne to ask about it? Do you have an angel standing next to you waiting to explain details? Or are you stuck on the same old way of doing things? Are you comfortable learning from one of those spiritualists? The choice is yours which side of the spiritual battle you are going to serve on.

Hebrews 8:1-6 NLTse Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. (2) There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands. (3) And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too. (4) If he were here on earth, he would not even be a priest, since there already are priests who offer the gifts required by the law. (5) They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.” (6) But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.

Hebrews 8:7-13 NLTse If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. (8) But when God found fault with the people, he said: “The day is coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. (9) This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt. They did not remain faithful to my covenant, so I turned my back on them, says the LORD. (10) But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the LORD: I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. (11) And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the LORD.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already. (12) And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” (13) When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.

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Malachi 4:5-6 Sending You the Prophet Elijah

Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 22, 2016


Malachi 4:5-6 Sending You the Prophet Elijah

Malachi 4:5-6 NLTse “Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the LORD arrives. (6) His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks, the last study in this series of books. Not because the task is complete. I am looking forward to getting back into the gospels and begin work on Luke and then John. There is still so much work to do and so much to learn. Yes this has been a learning process for me. I have to admit, about 90% of what is in this book, I saw for the first time when I compared all those parallel chapters and prayed about the spiritual links and lessons. Then it was just a matter of writing.

His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. This explains my deepest thoughts and emotions while working on these books about the prophecies Jesus fulfilled. It has been like working with a kind, gentile, loving father at my side every step of the way. But I know there are a lot of details I missed, and some I forgot to include. Other details were just too difficult to explain. But I understand there are just some things God wanted to sit down and personally explain to you. That’s just the way He works. After all, if you’re a parent, you know there are certain things you have to teach on a one on one basis. I hope you know there are things in this world only you can teach your child. And if you let those opportunities slip by, the world will jump in and take your place.

Can you image a day when fathers hearts will turn to their children and children will respond with love and understanding? The Bible of course gives us an example to learn from. And of course those lessons are often taught using contracts. Luke is the only author who mentioned Zechariah, so we will use Luke 1 as a parallel chapter.

Luke 1:13-20 NLTse But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. (14) You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, (15) for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. (16) And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. (17) He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.” (18) Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.” (19) Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! (20) But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.”

The first thing the key words point out in the fulfillment recorded in Luke 1 is, an angel came to talk to Zechariah. It was the angel Gabriel. The same angel who delivered messages to Daniel. The angel didn’t bother to introduce himself until after Zechariah expressed doubt. Then it was too late. Zechariah expressed something we need to pay attention to.

We see a pattern in the Bible. God sent Gabriel to deliver some important messages. We see that based on the general rule of repetition. This prophecy about the power of Elijah was also repeated. Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the LORD! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The LORD has spoken!” (Isaiah 40:3-5 NLTse).

When we pay attention to what is recorded, we see Gabriel shared this information based on scripture with Zechariah before he expressed doubt. Lesson number one. If Zechariah had studied scripture with an open mind and God’s Spirit by his side, he would have understood Isaiah’s prophecy as well as Malachi’s. Two strikes.

We can see the third strike when we understand Zechariah’s prayer for a son. We learn a great deal of details by looking back a few verses. One day Zechariah was serving God in the Temple, for his order was on duty that week. As was the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside, praying. (Luke 1:8-10 NLTse).

Zechariah was a priest. A very responsible priest trusted with important tasks. Notice what he was doing. Zechariah was taking care of the incense in the temple. The texts even goes as far as mentioning prayers to point us to the spiritual meaning of incense. And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. (Revelation 5:8 NLTse). There are great lessons to learn once we see how and why that incense was moved from a worldly temple to the Heavenly Sanctuary.

What was Zechariah’s prayer for a son? Since the word father is repeated a number of times, we need to consider what father’s usually pray for. There are two main prayers fathers offer for their children, especially sons. One is to pray their sons are able to accomplish much more than themselves and to live an easier, more enjoyable life. The other prayer is to have a son to carry on the family business. In this case, Zechariah was a priest. Neither one of those prayers fit into God’s plans. Zechariah’s son was not going to be a priest, like the other priests, and his father. And Zechariah’s son was not going to have an easy life.

In the eyes of a father, his son is a symbol of living on past the grave. Fathers feel a piece of themselves will live on in their son. Carrying on the same trade is one way of achieving that goal. And that tradition was not found to be stronger in any trade then the Levitical priesthood. It was almost written in stone before John was born. Zechariah was facing a trial much like Abraham offering Isaac as a sacrifice. For John not to become a priest after the Levitical order was like sacrificing his son.

Zechariah needed some time to think about it. There is something strange about someone who can’t talk. People tend to believe they can’t hear. But Zechariah heard everything around him. He heard what people thought and the gossip they were capable of spreading. Silence was a tool God used to lift the blinders from Zechariah’s eyes. Zechariah heard people talking about how they thought he was cursed. They assumed Zechariah did something wrong in the temple and God was punishing him. Zechariah thought, “how could I be cursed? God sent Gabriel to talk to me. God sent the same angel Daniel talked to.” Silence helped Zechariah to fine tune his connection with God’s Spirit.

When we see key words like birth and born repeated, we have to look for a spiritual connection. That connection is the end of the Levitical priesthood and the introduction to the form of ministry God always intended and really needed. God sent His Son to this world and Jesus needed some help. Now we learn from the contrast. Gabriel told Zechariah how his son was going to lead people back to God, lead fathers to a real relationship with their children, and prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. Gabriel told Zechariah his son was going to accomplish much more than Zechariah ever dreamed about. See the connection in the contrast. John was going to be a preacher like the world has never seen. Gabriel compared him to Elijah. John was to become a man of words and Zechariah lost his ability to speak. This shows us how one form of preaching will end and another one will begin. That’s why John’s ministry is illustrated as a ministry preaching the Good News, and Zechariah, the old priesthood went silent.

Malachi warned, “Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.” Zechariah showed us the beginning of that curse. He wanted to pull his son one way when God needed John to move in a new direction. It was an important direction because it concerned His Son. The Son God was sending down here to teach the world how to worship and serve Him. We see a great deal of those details revealed in the introductions.

Malachi 4:1-4 NLTse The LORD of Heaven’s Armies says, “The day of judgment is coming, burning like a furnace. On that day the arrogant and the wicked will be burned up like straw. They will be consumed–roots, branches, and all. (2) “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. (3) On the day when I act, you will tread upon the wicked as if they were dust under your feet,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. (4) “Remember to obey the Law of Moses, my servant–all the decrees and regulations that I gave him on Mount Sinai for all Israel.

Sounds like Malachi’s introduction to chapter 4 is telling about the end of the world. The beginning of Jesus’ ministry was the end of the world for some people. Is it? The introduction to every chapter of course establishes its theme and lesson. To understand it better, we can use the help of the five W’s.

Who?

the arrogant and the wicked

What?

judgment is coming

will be burned up like straw

When?

We have to look into the rest of the chapter, or the previous chapters to find that answer.

Where?

Once again, we have to search for an answer.

Why?

Since we already have two unanswered questions, it’s time to look at the previous chapter to see how the author led into this introduction.

Malachi 3:14-18 NLTse “You have said, ‘What’s the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying his commands or by trying to show the LORD of Heaven’s Armies that we are sorry for our sins? (15) From now on we will call the arrogant blessed. For those who do evil get rich, and those who dare God to punish them suffer no harm.'” (16) Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name. (17) “They will be my people,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “On the day when I act in judgment, they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient child. (18) Then you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.”

The summary in chapter 3 shows two opposing groups. One thinks they have a way around serving God, while the other group, God listens to. We see that theme carried forward to chapter 4 and into Luke 1. There is another group mentioned in the introduction to chapter 4.

Who?

you who fear my name

What?

the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings.

And you will go free

you will tread upon the wicked

obey the Law of Moses

When?

There is only one time mentioned: all the decrees and regulations that I gave him on Mount Sinai for all Israel.

Where?

Location is not given.

Why?

Is answered in the what.

We can see time and location are universal, beginning when Moses received God’s law at Mount Sinai. Since we can see John’s birth, and of course Jesus’ birth marked a new understanding of that law. The new beginning must also mark the end of an era. Which of course was one of the main themes of Jesus’ ministry on earth.

Luke’s introduction here is the introduction to his book where we see details we need to pay attention to throughout his book. When we read Luke chapter 1, we have to ask, why this story is so important and how it relates throughout his entire book?

Luke 1:1-13 NLTse Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us. (2) They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples. (3) Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write a careful account for you, most honorable Theophilus, (4) so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught. (5) When Herod was king of Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron. (6) Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. (7) They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old. (8) One day Zechariah was serving God in the Temple, for his order was on duty that week. (9) As was the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. (10) While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside, praying. (11) While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. (12) Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. (13) But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John.

First of all, Luke wanted his friend to know the accounts he recorded are accurate. After all, Luke was there to see them. Luke also tells us there are other reports he used from some of the early disciples. Luke carefully investigated every detail before writing.

Luke begins with a date. A date we saw missing in Malachi chapter 4. Luke quickly introduced Zechariah, pointing out he was a priest. Because Luke repeated the word priest, we have to consider the reason why.

Luke also pointed out, Zechariah was an important priest and he was old. He’d been around for a while. Like all priests in his day, Zechariah would have began instructions for his position at a very early age. Zechariah endured rigorous training under the care of Israel’s most honored and trusted priests. In short, Zechariah read the scriptures. But he was taught the accepted interpretations and was not allowed to question, add to, or subtract from those interpretations. Zechariah was, for lack of a better term, brainwashed from birth.

The first new lesson we see God introducing to Zechariah is His timing. Elizabeth was well past child bearing years. They waited together in the twilight of their years for what was to come. Because they didn’t have a son to care for them, they had to put more trust and dependence in the established priestly order to care for them in their old age. Which made it impossible for Zechariah to stray away from the accepted order in any way, shape, or form. Zechariah was stuck – bound to his job and beliefs by dedication and financial concerns.

Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. It was important for God to find a married couple who both followed His commands. But there was more than just following commands. There had to be more than a search for self righteousness through works. God had to find a couple willing to understand His plan of salvation and teach their son, or allow God to teach their son how to prepare the world for Jesus’ ministry.

What are the connecting factors between the introduction for Malachi 4 and Luke 1? Malachi told us to, “remember o obey the Law of Moses, my servant.” Luke told us, “Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations.” The connection goes beyond God’s law. Malachi talks about a day of judgment. Luke tells us about the day final preparations were made to announce Jesus’ arrival here in earth. This was not only a renewal of the original form of worship, but the beginning of Jesus’ life, ministry, test, and trial to prove He is worthy to judge this world. Jesus had to first prove He could take the worst this world was prepared to throw at Him and pass every test and trial. God’s standards are not lax. They are especially rigid for His Son. You see, God wanted His Son to be just like Him in all ways. Jesus explained that. No one has ever seen God. But the one and only Son is himself God and is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us. Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? (John 1:18, 14:9 NLTse).

No one knows what day Jesus will return to fulfill that portion of His ministry. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. (Matthew 24:35-36 NLTse). But there are certain steps we have to know before we can understand circumstances related to Jesus’ return. Don’t be concerned about the date. Don’t worry about it and certainly, don’t listen to anyone who claims to know the day and hour. But that does not mean we are supposed to ignore the event and all the details and lessons associated with Jesus’ return. We find a recorded fulfillment in one portion of this prophecy. Part of the prophecy is a lesson. A very important lesson we can understand. Many people preach about that one detail, the power of Elijah. “Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the LORD arrives.” How can we tell which details are correct and which are man made fabrications if we don’t understand the extent of the event?

The main question is, will you be afraid when God pours out a dramatic amount of new information and understanding during those last days? I think most religions preach their own version of the later rain, power of Elijah, a last day Pentecost, a time where people will once again have the gift of prophecy and dreams. The only thing is, I can’t find a verse in the Bible where God told us, He is going to be silent for a time, or withhold His voice until some future time. When I hear people believe God doesn’t talk to this world now, I tell them to tear every page out of their Bible where they find something about God speaking to someone and see how much is left. There may be time that passed when people didn’t listen to God, but that doesn’t mean He wasn’t trying to be heard.

We talked about this study during our meeting today and some important details came out. That’s another way God speaks to us, through His faithful followers. Did you notice, Elizabeth couldn’t get pregnant until Zechariah lost his voice? Look at the texts someone pointed out to me. “Thus has the Lord dealt with me in the days in which he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.” (Luke 1:25 KJ2000). As soon as Zechariah fell silent, he finally entered into a world where he could understand his wife. Elizabeth had to endure her pain and reproach alone in silence. Zechariah had to share that silence to know his wife. Once he knew and shared her pain, she was ready to conceive.

That’s one thing about God’s Word. Once you learn to study with God’s Spirit, there is always more to see and learn. There is no doubt about it. But it is not always easy to share. Having been involved in an institutional church for some time, I know how difficult it is to share. Malachi provided an important detail that will help us understand why. His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

Like God wanted Jesus to be exactly like Himself, fathers want their children, especially sons to grow up exactly like themselves. As we’ve seen in this story about Zechariah, God needed that chain broken. The last thing God wanted was to see was John to grow up like his father. When we see how God teaches with contrasts we can see that lesson. I’ve heard dozens of people tell me, “I am second generation this, or third generation that.” It’s their way of saying, “I already know everything.” They learned from their parents and if their religion was good enough for their parents and grandparents, it is good enough for them. It is the rut Gabriel told Zechariah he had to get out of. Everything Gabriel told Zechariah went against what he had drilled into his head by his father. That’s been a major problem in Christianity for generations. People refuse to move on. That’s why they reject anything and everything new with no additional thought. They have been drilled into thinking their parents and grandparents are lost if they didn’t know everything. It’s sad, but that’s the way people think. It’s really nothing more than an excuse not to move on. The best reason they can come up with not to listen to God’s voice.

Jesus didn’t have His legs broken at the cross because He had places to go and things to do. God knew Jesus was going to move forward. On the other hand, those guilty people on their crosses had their legs broken. They weren’t going anywhere. They died at the cross. They represent a lot of Christian religions stuck at the cross. They want to keep it easy to understand. They use excuses like, “new people may come in.” Don’t they think God is able to get new people up to speed before they walk through that door? There is no excuse to consistently reject new details God is trying to share. No matter how great or small they may be. God always confirms His Word. There is no danger in learning something new. We were created in God’s image and He is our loving Father, who lives to take us as far as we are willing to go and learn as much as we decide to learn. Which brings us to the perfect time to look at and compare the summaries.

Luke 1:56-80 NLTse Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back to her own home. (57) When it was time for Elizabeth’s baby to be born, she gave birth to a son. (58) And when her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had been very merciful to her, everyone rejoiced with her. (59) When the baby was eight days old, they all came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father. (60) But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John!” (61) “What?” they exclaimed. “There is no one in all your family by that name.” (62) So they used gestures to ask the baby’s father what he wanted to name him. (63) He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.” (64) Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God. (65) Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills. (66) Everyone who heard about it reflected on these events and asked, “What will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was surely upon him in a special way. (67) Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy: (68) “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people. (69) He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David, (70) just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago. (71) Now we will be saved from our enemies and from all who hate us. (72) He has been merciful to our ancestors by remembering his sacred covenant– (73) the covenant he swore with an oath to our ancestor Abraham. (74) We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, (75) in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live. (76) “And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. (77) You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins. (78) Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, (79) to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” (80) John grew up and became strong in spirit. And he lived in the wilderness until he began his public ministry to Israel.

This summary is what I couldn’t wait to get to. Here is where we see one of the most important lessons in this prophecy and its fulfillment. Did you notice something missing? An angel talked to Zechariah. The angel also spoke to Mary. When we check, we see, Joseph had dreams. It seems the only one who didn’t have an angel appearing to them or had a dream was Elizabeth. Look at what she said to praise God. And after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, “Thus has the Lord dealt with me in the days in which he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.” (Luke 1:24-25 KJ2000).

Elizabeth returned to seclusion, to share the pain her husband was experiencing. Being childless, Elizabeth was not looked upon in a positive way by society. Especially in a circle of priests and their wives who were all experts in the law. Being alone opened up a channel to God’s Spirit to alleviate her lonely feeling. Elizabeth didn’t need a miraculous meeting or dream to learn and understand what was happening. She had a direct connection with God she relied on, because she was using it for years. This is the connection fathers need with their sons and with God. The same connection Elizabeth had with God.

I’ve been trying to sell my house for more than a year. I have it priced way below market value and below tax assessed value. People come over, look at the house, but the answer is always the same. They think the yard is too much work. It is a full acre with flower gardens all over. It also has vegetable gardens and fruit trees as well as a wild flower garden. And of course plenty of grass. They say there is too much work for them. To me it is paradise. A place to walk a few steps and meet God in nature. There are a lot of birds, deer, and even a pair of cranes that mate every years. Ducks are in the pond and geese visit, eat, and rest in the corn field up the block. I watch squirrels dodging hawks and falcons. Every year rabbits are all over the yard for a few weeks. Until those baby hawks leave the nest. I look out everyday and watch the balance of life in a sinful world and learn lessons.

All the people who look at the house have kids. I can see, this world is not ready for this study, or the message in Malachi 4. Fathers have no interest in teaching their kids or spending time with them. There is no connection between them. Fathers have no heart to share. All they know is give their children everything they want, then let television, the Internet, and the school system raise their kids. The world has gone from one extreme to the other. This world is not ready for God’s simple message. God is love.

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Jeremiah 23:5-12 The King Who Rules with Wisdom

Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 21, 2016


  • Jeremiah 23:5-12 The King Who Rules with Wisdom

    Jeremiah 23:5-12 NLTse “For the time is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. (6) And this will be his name: ‘The LORD Is Our Righteousness.’ In that day Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety. (7) “In that day,” says the LORD, “when people are taking an oath, they will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’ (8) Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.’ Then they will live in their own land.” (9) My heart is broken because of the false prophets, and my bones tremble. I stagger like a drunkard, like someone overcome by wine, because of the holy words the LORD has spoken against them. (10) For the land is full of adultery, and it lies under a curse. The land itself is in mourning– its wilderness pastures are dried up. For they all do evil and abuse what power they have. (11) “Even the priests and prophets are ungodly, wicked men. I have seen their despicable acts right here in my own Temple,” says the LORD. (12) “Therefore, the paths they take will become slippery. They will be chased through the dark, and there they will fall. For I will bring disaster upon them at the time fixed for their punishment. I, the LORD, have spoken!

    Jeremiah 23 is a prophecy with two sides. The first part is about Jesus coming as King. We know this as His second coming, but Jews between Jeremiah’s time and Christ’s time looked at this as the one and only Messiah’s appearance. Based on previous studies, we know this prophecy points to a recorded fulfillment in the New Testament. There is one point repeated in this prophecy. Israel was enslaved in Egypt, then in what Jeremiah refers to as the north and other countries. Some people say the north points to Babylon, which it did in Jeremiah’s time. Other people attempt to place their private interpretations on the north which they cannot back up with the Bible. The north is where Satan placed his throne. For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. (Isaiah 14:13 NLTse). Hence the physical interpretation points to Babylon while the spiritual points to Satan.

    What comes to mind when you think about Jesus ruling with wisdom and doing what is just and right throughout the land? Most people look at this as a future event. Why do you think they look at it as a future event? Does the Bible tells us we have to wait for Jesus to rule with wisdom and do what is right in the future? Are you looking at those texts a little differently now? Jesus was along side His Father long before this world was created ruling with wisdom and always doing what is right and just. What makes people think we have to wait on some future event to take orders from Jesus, listen to His advice and begin taking advantage of and learning from His wisdom? It seems the world likes to think its on its own and has to come up with solutions to problems based on human knowledge and our ability to fit God’s law and wisdom into this sinful world. Look at the news today. Look at all the problems. You don’t need a list from me. This will apply to every problem everywhere in this world. Where do leaders look for solutions? Who are they relying on for answers? Where do world leaders turn for wisdom and the ability to do what is just and right throughout the land? The answer is always the same. They turn to themselves. No wonder this world is in the mess it is today. Everyone has given up on asking God to get involved — the world forgot how to go to the infinite source of wisdom to find out what needs to be done. Take a look at their track record. How many problems have world leaders been able to solve using their wisdom? How many problems have they created?

    We don’t think or study enough about Jesus’ ministry, role, or life before He left Heaven to come to this world. But that is how this prophecy begins, by reminding us Jesus will come to claim David’s throne. What a small detail compared to Jesus’ role of sitting on His throne in Heaven next to God His Father. What do you think about that? Was Jeremiah trying to reach people on a level they should have been able to understand? Was Jeremiah pointing to Jesus’ concern for this world, or both? This is something I don’t understand but as I prayed about this study, I was shown Jesus on His throne before God’s plan of salvation was put into action in that tiny cattle pen in Bethlehem. Jesus walked in Heaven with angels far greater in stature, intelligence, honor, and glory than any human being. Every angel was willing to do anything to serve Him. That is every angel except those who sided with Satan. Christ won His first victory in Heaven by defeating Satan and his angels, then casting them here to earth. This was only the beginning of a long series of battles for Jesus who gave up His throne in Heaven to come to this world as a few living cells, too small to be seen with the human eye. But God’s eyes never left His Son. Jesus’ next battle was fought when He was born. This came after Mary, His mother had to face a few battles of her own. Outside of the usual threats of disease and other dangers of pregnancy, Mary had to face the possible rejection from Joseph who had to learn to listen to God’s voice and accept the unexpected. His wife was impregnated by God’s Spirit. Sure it’s easy to read those stories and say, “ya I would have accepted it.” But put yourself in the center of the story on one side, then the other and see the heart of the lessons. Mary had to accept the angel’s message and go forward on faith. Then Joseph wanted to reject her. Seeing a pregnant wife knowing it was not from him was too much for Joseph. Based on worldly knowledge and traditions, everything told Joseph what he should do. But that was not God’s plan. So God talks to Joseph in a dream. Think of that. Would you follow one of your dreams if God chose to talk to you that way? None of those details are normal by any stretch of the imagination. But that is God’s way of doing things. If one detail was not fulfilled, every part of Jesus’ ministry would have been ruined. It was as if God opened every door for Satan to succeed. God’s plan stacked everything against Himself. Every detail of Jesus’ early ministry was beyond human comprehension and reasoning. But Joseph and Mary cooperated and Jesus was born. Once again we see unexpected circumstances the world takes for granted. Jesus was born in an environment a small percentage of infants survive. There must have been a thousand ways Jesus could have caught some disease and died within hours or days. But God protected Him.

    There is another unexpected event. A few people referred to as wise men stopped off at Herod’s palace to ask directions. This tips off Herod who doesn’t take any chances. He has every child in Bethlehem killed. Jesus faces another battle. This time He retreats to the last place anyone would expect, Egypt where a whole new set of temptations and trials wait. Generations before over a million people left Egypt to follow God. Only a small number made it to the promised land. God sent His Son on the same journey.

    Only a few years ago Jesus sat on His throne in Heaven. Now He finds Himself going to Jerusalem with His family to celebrate the Passover. The King of Heaven finds His way to the temple and into a meeting with some of Israel’s most prestigious religious leaders. Led by God’s Spirit, Jesus asks them a series of questions. Those men are amazed as they listen to Jesus’ questions and attempt to answer them. Jesus gained a bit of respect with Jerusalem’s religious leaders – for a time. A sign of a small victory.

    Somewhere between that trip to Jerusalem and the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, He lost His father. It must have been rough for Jesus. Did He have the power to save his father? How long did Jesus grieve? How did He grieve? What lessons did Jesus learn from the experience? How did His father’s death open Jesus’ eyes to the spiritual battle raging around Him? It didn’t take Jesus long to change His grief into a motivating factor. Jesus had to succeed to one day raise Joseph from his grave to eternal life. Joseph wasn’t the only person Jesus wanted to succeed for, so He could stand upon those clouds and call out their names raising them to eternal life. The spiritual battle Jesus came to fight in human form became personal.

    The King of Heaven was called to action. His first order was to meet His cousin at the Jordan River where He was baptized. Even Jesus’ cousin tempted Jesus when John told Jesus it was he who needed to be baptized by Jesus. But Jesus knew God’s plan and intended to follow it to the letter. After His baptism came one of the better know battles – Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. It took Jesus over a month to prepare for that battle lasting only a few minutes. Something Jesus had to go through to teach us a lesson. God’s plan of salvation took longer to plan than any of us can imagine. God’s plan of salvation deserves as much respect as Jesus and His Father deserve on their throne. God’s Word, which is His plan of salvation, is a view to His personality.

    After Jesus’ victory over Satan, the King of kings next mission was to assemble an invincible army. Jesus chose a few fisherman, a doctor, a tax collector, someone to manage the money, and a few others almost no one would notice. Now Jesus was ready to face the world His army could see, and that spiritual army they couldn’t see with their eyes, which made it difficult to comprehend an attack. Jesus had His own method of attack. His major weapon was His words. Every one of them He received from Heaven. Jesus only had three and a half more years to fulfill nearly three hundred prophecies? Could any human memorize each one and ensure each was fulfilled on time and to the letter? Jesus had to rely on God’s Spirit from day to day, minute to minute. Jesus’ plan was simple. Teach people to look to His Father for answers and trust His Spirit. Jesus also turned the tide by healing hundreds of people. The King of the universe bending down to lay His hand on sick and suffering people. Most of those people were looked at as out casts of society. In Jesus’ eyes they were more precious than all the riches of this world. Jesus already proved that.

    My heart is broken because of the false prophets, and my bones tremble. I stagger like a drunkard, like someone overcome by wine, because of the holy words the LORD has spoken against them. For the land is full of adultery, and it lies under a curse. Jeremiah added a solemn point to the message. Of course God is upset when people claim to be His but don’t listen to Him. Of course God is upset when He sends His prophets and they still don’t listen. Look at the big picture. Jeremiah is only one of those prophets God sent during that period. Daniel was in Babylon and Isaiah was traveling from place to place, leader to leader delivering another set of messages. Who put those messages together? Is anyone putting those messages together today to get the bigger picture? That would make an interesting book. Not many people are looking at the big picture. It seems people are satisfied to look at scripture, pull out a few choice words, maybe a text or two, then let their imaginations run wild. What does that accomplish? Talk about false prophets — we still have them today. Prophets predicting this, that, and the other thing. Those false prophets have been wrong a thousand times and people would still rather listen to them then talk to God and learn the truth. No wonder God is upset. For they all do evil and abuse what power they have. “Even the priests and prophets are ungodly, wicked men. I have seen their despicable acts right here in my own Temple,” says the LORD.

    God knows the score. Not only does God know what they are up to, He knows the choice you made between them and Him. And God knows how to solve all the problems we have in this world. But most people would rather sit around and wait until something happens. People today are no better than those is Jesus’ day – expecting to find a Messiah who will do all the work — wave His hand and wham!!!! The whole world is changed. People tend to fall for fairy tales, lies, and deceptions telling them to sit still, not worry about a thing, wait and see, watch the world fall apart before your eyes, there is nothing we can do. The list of idleness never seems to end. When are we going to begin an era of listening to God, taking orders, going into action, becoming willing participants in this spiritual battle instead of spectators the enemy wants us to believe is our only role.

    Jesus was about to introduce His most powerful weapon in that spiritual war. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. (Matthew 16:24 NLTse). Jesus’ disciples didn’t know what He meant by taking up a cross. To them it was a weapon Rome used to intimidate anyone who wasn’t Roman. They lifted the King up on a cross. Jesus took the worst those priests and Romans could throw at Him, then rose from the grave.

    It’s not very hard to see this prophecy about Jesus tells about the time He will once again sit upon His throne. For now, Jesus has another role. This study does not provide the exact date Jesus will be crowned King or show exactly what will lead to that event. In this case I chose texts which add to details shown in Jeremiah 23. It’s a show of faith to know the event will come to pass and a show of respect to study details about the event without worry about, or trying to prove a particular date. Based on other studies I’ve read and conversing with people, I see more interest in guessing at circumstances and dates than the Man/God soon to be crowned King. I wonder why the world lives off details about movies stars and other famous people like somehow knowing every circumstance and secret about their lives will somehow … well I have to admit, I have no idea why people thrive on such gossip. But when I bring up the subject of Jesus, what He’s done, is doing, and other details about His life and what He taught, few people seem interested. What did Jesus die for if no one is interested? I should say, few people are interested. The parallel texts I chose for this study shows one man who cared. One man Jesus was able to reach and change. And shows how much He cared. Look what Paul taught a young man while treating him like a son.

    1 Timothy 6:8-16 NLTse So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. (9) But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. (10) For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. (11) But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. (12) Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses. (13) And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate, (14) that you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. (15) For at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. (16) He alone can never die, and he lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him. No human eye has ever seen him, nor ever will. All honor and power to him forever! Amen.

    The first sentence establishes the main theme – to be content. Why shouldn’t we be content when we see an entire eternity in front of us. An eternity far different than this world. An eternity where Christ rules as King! No more corrupt leaders. No more higher and higher taxes. No more foreclosures. No more loans or mortgages. No more working for a boss with an ego larger than the State of Texas or an owner with a desire for money deeper than hell itself. No more…. of this world. But Christ as King will create a whole new world without weeds, wild beasts, poisonous inspects or reptiles. A new world so unlike this one it is almost beyond explanation. Trees of perfect form. Warm days and cool evenings. Fruit with a flavor like it was meant to be. Vegetables grown without chemicals. Animals wandering about looking for attention. Children without a care in the world. Water so clear you can see the colored rocks and gems lying along the bottom. Grass so green and soft you’ll want to walk through it in bare feet. Then there is the city New Jerusalem with walls of jasper and foundations of every color. A city so large it seems it will take a life time to walk from one end to the other. But life with Jesus will be forever. And there will be Jesus sitting on His throne, walking beside you, sharing a meal, playing with children, telling us all about the animals, wonders of the world, and stories about His ministry here on earth and in Heaven. One of the events I am waiting for is the day we stand on the walls of New Jerusalem and watch Jesus recreate this world. Imagine being the first humans to witness creation. Not even Adam witnessed the creation of this world, but one day we will.

    Why would anyone want to give up all of that? Maybe it’s because no one told them about the future with Jesus. Who would want to give up the opportunity to hear Jesus call them brother or sister, or God to call them son and daughter? Surely people can understand Heaven will be based on a personal relationship with Jesus and His Father. Why would they left greed, money, violence, drugs, and self gratification stand in the way of eternal peace? Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. (Romans 8:5-8 NLTse).

    Paul told Timothy it was a battle. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses. Of course Paul told Timothy about all the weapons at his disposal. The most important is to be a witness and teach people to be witnesses. Which is one of those things we want to accomplish with this study. How do we become witnesses? How do we teach others to be witnesses? A witness in a court case is known for their testimony of what they’ve seen and heard. Now think about that in the context of being a witness for Christ. If you were called to witness in a court case could you give a truthful testimony for or against someone you’ve never met? Should a witness for Jesus be any different? Then why do I see so many people claiming to be a witness – and in so many cases their testimony has little or nothing to do with Jesus as a person, Savior, or King. In other words, they’ve never met Jesus. Their testimony is as false and damaging as the witnesses those priests trained to testify against Jesus and send Him to His death.

    Looking at this prophecy and its fulfillment from a technical aspect, we see Jeremiah telling how Jesus the Messiah will one day be a King who rules with wisdom. Paul added, “the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. He alone can never die, and he lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him. No human eye has ever seen him, nor ever will. All honor and power to him forever!” They also share another detail. Jeremiah recorded, “the time is coming.” Paul pointed, “at just the right time Christ will be revealed from Heaven.” So we know Christ will be crowned King in the future. This is a prophecy we are waiting to see fulfilled.

    The prophecy and fulfillment also share key words.

    Jeremiah 23:5-12 contains:

    overcome, adultery, curse, abuse, ungodly, wicked, despicable, fall, disaster, punishment 1 Timothy 6:8-16 have the related words:

    fall, temptation, ruin, destruction

    God repeated these warnings for a reason. He doesn’t want to loose anyone. If only they would turn around an see what they will gain by breaking the law and compare it to what they’ll loose if they decided not to turn around. Why does Jeremiah continually write about adultery, curse, abuse, ungodly, wicked, despicable, fall, disaster, and punishment? These describe the scene Jeremiah witnessed and the conditions he found himself working in. Did Jeremiah see the depth of those conditions before he became God’s prophet? If you listen to God’s voice allowing yourself to be one of His messengers, you’ll see the world in a new light. You’ll begin to experience trials you never expected. You’ll see people taking advantage of you for no reason at all. You’ll find yourself linking those trials and events together to see a much larger picture. Suddenly world events will begin to make sense. You’ll see parallel lessons between stories in the Bible and current events which will explain reasons behind the events – if and only if you are willing to accept information like Jeremiah did during his training. Jeremiah accepted God’s Word and directions without question. That didn’t make life easy for Jeremiah who had to go through situations much worse than many people experience. Jeremiah had to endure trials to deliver God’s message with emotion and record them exactly how God dictated them. Prophetic training is not easy. The life of a prophet is not one of luxury. Prophets live in the thick of things, experiencing and living through the same trials as the people they deliver those messages to. Like Jeremiah saw, those messages are often rejected and additional trials and hardships are forced upon God’s prophets.

    Jeremiah was a prophet trained by God. Paul was a disciple chosen and taught by Jesus. Paul then wrote letters containing details of what he handed down to one of his coworkers, Timothy. The introductions to the chapters we’re comparing here contain details with one one chapter complimenting the other. One of the subjects Jeremiah introduced tells us about shepherds, people who were supposed to be looking after and guiding God’s people.

    Jeremiah 23:1-4 NLTse “What sorrow awaits the leaders of my people–the shepherds of my sheep–for they have destroyed and scattered the very ones they were expected to care for,” says the LORD. (2) Therefore, this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to these shepherds: “Instead of caring for my flock and leading them to safety, you have deserted them and driven them to destruction. Now I will pour out judgment on you for the evil you have done to them. (3) But I will gather together the remnant of my flock from the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their own sheepfold, and they will be fruitful and increase in number. (4) Then I will appoint responsible shepherds who will care for them, and they will never be afraid again. Not a single one will be lost or missing. I, the LORD have spoken!

    1 Timothy 6:1-7 NLTse All slaves should show full respect for their masters so they will not bring shame on the name of God and his teaching. (2) If the masters are believers, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. Those slaves should work all the harder because their efforts are helping other believers who are well loved. Teach these things, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. (3) Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life. (4) Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions. (5) These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy. (6) Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. (7) After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it.

    God refers to the leaders of His people as shepherds. Here we see another example showing how God clearly identified a symbol. There is no doubt. “What sorrow awaits the leaders of my people–the shepherds of my sheep–” Another symbol, sheep is identified as God’s people. Looking back at the introduction we can see the destruction and evil mentioned in the prophecy refers to leaders inflicting hardships on their own kind – people they were supposed to serve. This is another detail you’ll see in your life when you begin serving God. Suddenly people around you will display their real intents. People you thought you could trust will take advantage of you. But don’t worry. Other friends will step up to show you a side of faith and concern you never noticed. Their support will more than make up for the brief trials marginal friends will cause. As this happens your eyes will open to spiritual battles around you. New understanding will flood your mind to such a degree you can feel it in your veins. Understanding becomes a part of your being. Your first desire will be to find people to share your experiences with on a spiritual level. God will provide that outlet. God will fill your life with people having the same experiences. You’ll soon find out how God confirms His messages with His Word as well as through His people — those who are not following those marginal shepherds.

    Jeremiah filled in a few vague details. Those disloyal shepherds have deserted them and driven them to destruction. Paul fills in a few of the details showing how and why those leaders desert, turn their backs on, or take advantage of God’s people. Those leaders will long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. It will be all about money. Every aspect of life, every trial, misery, compromise, and destructive cause will be center on the lust for money. Jobs are center on money. Inflation is centered on money. Taxes rely on money. And yes, religions today compete for and thrive on money.

    Jeremiah tells a completely different side of the story for people who won’t be fooled by those misleading shepherds. I will gather together the remnant of my flock from the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their own sheepfold, and they will be fruitful and increase in number. Then I will appoint responsible shepherds who will care for them, and they will never be afraid again. Not a single one will be lost or missing. I, the LORD have spoken! Paul also told Timothy some of the attributes and qualities God’s followers will live by. But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses. Paul referred to it as a fight. Jeremiah lived through an invasion by enemy forces. Most people look at the enemy outside Jerusalem’s gates. But when you read Jeremiah, you can see the real enemy lived inside those walls. Think of that when you think about those misleading shepherds. Some times they are found inside the walls, closer to you than what you think.

    Paul opened this part of his letter by using slaves as an illustration then tells Timothy to teach the lesson. What is that lesson? To pay attention to how people act. It doesn’t matter if their a slave or master, proper Christian actions will be noticed. If you don’t see the right actions and reactions how do they show they are good shepherds? Paul is the type of writer who used common teaching methods in his letters. Paul often provides an answer, followed by and explanation leading to a question. In this case we see ourselves asking how to tell a good shepherd from a bad one. When we looked back we found the answer. Good teachers arrange lessons so students go back and forth comparing notes and details. This also entices students to pay attention. Once they learn the pattern, it is easy to follow. We get a different effect by comparing the prophecy with the fulfillment. Putting the two together we can see symbols explained and details about those symbols we may not have thought of when reading one or the other chapter alone. When we find chapters like these two that compliment one another so well, we can’t help but appreciate the effort God put into writing the Bible. You know on a relationship basis, appreciation is an important element. Those of you involved in a relationship where you didn’t feel appreciated know what I mean. Now apply that to God. How do you think God feels about all those people who don’t appreciate Him or take Him for granted? That’s another sign of those disloyal, marginal shepherds. One of the areas I see abused most is prophecy. Let’s face it. The world is filled with people who want to make a name for themselves by solving prophecies. How do they do it? Completely backwards. They see an event then find a text they can use to convince people that event was in the Bible. Then they call it prophecy. Does that make God feel unappreciated? It sure doesn’t. First of all, those prophets are calling all the glory and attention to themselves. Secondly, those prophets claim a higher power. They don’t exhibit the humility Jesus possessed and neither can they teach it. In addition to that, those prophets are wasting time and leading people away from God and His Spirit.

    Jeremiah 23:36-40 NLTse (36) But stop using this phrase, ‘prophecy from the LORD.’ For people are using it to give authority to their own ideas, turning upside down the words of our God, the living God, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. (37) “This is what you should say to the prophets: ‘What is the LORD’s answer?’ or ‘What is the LORD saying?’ (38) But suppose they respond, ‘This is a prophecy from the LORD!’ Then you should say, ‘This is what the LORD says: Because you have used this phrase, “prophecy from the LORD,” even though I warned you not to use it, (39) I will forget you completely. I will expel you from my presence, along with this city that I gave to you and your ancestors. (40) And I will make you an object of ridicule, and your name will be infamous throughout the ages.'”

    1 Timothy 6:17-21 NLTse (17) Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. (18) Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. (19) By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life. (20) Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge. (21) Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness. May God’s grace be with you all.

    Jeremiah delivers a massage to some of those prophets he faced in the kings court. Jeremiah stopped using symbols and moved to the word prophets. God wanted those prophets to make sure who Jeremiah was addressing. “Even the priests and prophets are ungodly, wicked men. I have seen their despicable acts right here in my own Temple,” says the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:11 NLTse). This shows how important the message is. It also points out how inept those prophets were at interpreting symbols. They couldn’t figure out what a shepherd represented, so Jeremiah told them. Think of it. Do you think any self proclaimed prophet will in any generation ever figure out those warnings in God’s Word? Of course not. Now ask why not. For one thing, they don’t have a relationship with God, His Spirit, or Jesus. They have the ability to relate prophecies to current events. But they are always wrong and lead people away from the truth at the most crucial time. They can also relate modern stories and events to parables and stories in the Bible, but on a very shallow level. Self proclaimed prophets can mislead people new to God’s Word, people with a dim view of God, people who don’t see a need to study on their own, and Christians missing a personal relationship with God. Now you have to ask why the majority of Christians are missing those qualities. You also have to ask why the world lacks preaches capable of teaching those qualities. Why can’t preachers teach people like the disciples did in Acts? They went to a group, preached about Jesus. Introduced them to God’s Spirit. Prayed for them, and when they say God’s Spirit on them, moved onto the next place God needed them.

    It’s not hard to see, God doesn’t like people claiming to be prophets when they really don’t know Him. When we look at the beginning of Jeremiah, we see exactly how God chose Jeremiah, trained him, tested him, and what God expects from His prophets. It’s not that difficult to figure out. Paul loved teaching. One of the subjects he taught was how to seek, find, and understand God. Look at the first few chapters in 1 Corinthians. Notice how Paul used key words wisdom and understanding. The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.” So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:18-21 NLTse).

    Of course when Paul quoted scripture, we have to look at it. “‘How can you say, “We are wise because we have the word of the LORD,” when your teachers have twisted it by writing lies? These wise teachers will fall into the trap of their own foolishness, for they have rejected the word of the LORD. Are they so wise after all? (Jeremiah 8:8-9 NLTse). We find a little more information about prophets misleading people. But we don’t want to be misled. So we’ll follow standard Bible Study rules and check the introduction and summation to the chapter Paul quoted. “In that day,” says the LORD, “the enemy will break open the graves of the kings and officials of Judah, and the graves of the priests, prophets, and common people of Jerusalem. They will spread out their bones on the ground before the sun, moon, and stars–the gods my people have loved, served, and worshiped. Their bones will not be gathered up again or buried but will be scattered on the ground like manure. (Jeremiah 8:1-2 NLTse). In the introduction we see Jeremiah using symbols. We have to remember the lesson Jeremiah had to learn. Never guess at a symbol. Always let God explain it. All we can see is the physical aspects. Graves of kings, priests, and prophets are being disgraced. We don’t know exactly who those people are, so there is no way we can guess at what the rest of the prophecy means unless we find the explanation in God’s Word. Since the introduction and summation share the same theme, we find a clue there. “The harvest is finished, and the summer is gone,” the people cry, “yet we are not saved!” I hurt with the hurt of my people. I mourn and am overcome with grief. Is there no medicine in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why is there no healing for the wounds of my people? (Jeremiah 8:20-22 NLTse).

    Jeremiah tells us bones of important dead people will be dug up and scattered. People can come up with a thousand interpretations based on a few texts, but what do we find when we compare them with the summation? One point in particular stands out in the summation. People are not saved. Comparing that to the introduction, we see why those bones are dug up and scattered. Those bones represent a false sense of salvation, finding God, prophecies, and every detail concerning God and His plan of salvation. The introduction also tells us those bone will be, spread out on the ground before the sun, moon, and stars–the gods my people have loved, served, and worshiped. When we put all the details together, we can see Jeremiah is pointing out a general deception. Now this is where most people go wrong. They stumble upon something in God’s Word then say, “thanks, I can take it from here.” People fail to see exactly how vague the details are. God didn’t tell us exactly what the enemy and those false prophets will use to mislead you. The point is. The only way you can be safe is to remain in constant contact with God’s Spirit so He can warn and protect you from those deceptions when they come.

    In addition to pointing us back to Jeremiah in his letter to the Corinthians, Paul also gave Timothy sound advice. Instead of using symbols, Paul instructed Timothy with specific details. Money is one of the evils or temptations we will have to look out for. Of course the most common thought about this warning is, it’s for those rich people, but not for me. Don’t be like those wannabe prophets who think those warnings apply to everyone else but themselves. First examine yourself. Better yet, pray and let God’s Spirit tell you all the details you need to see. Let’s face facts. As long as we have enough money to be comfortable, we feel a sense of independence. Part of that independence is feeling we don’t need God all the time. We begin to make our own decisions. We begin to slip away a little at a time. Most times without noticing.

    Paul really loved Timothy and didn’t want to see him slip away. So Paul told Timothy what to do. The most important detail was to know what is good and teach it to people. When you know a subject well enough to teach, you won’t easily forget yourself. Teaching also opens up new doors to learn, and learn at a higher level. Paul told Timothy to be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life. Paul does the best job of summing up this lesson. Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge. Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness. May God’s grace be with you all.

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Jeremiah 11:15-19 Lamb to Slaughter

Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 19, 2016


  • Jeremiah 11:15-19 Lamb to Slaughter

    Jeremiah 11:15-19 NLTse (15) “What right do my beloved people have to come to my Temple, when they have done so many immoral things? Can their vows and sacrifices prevent their destruction? They actually rejoice in doing evil! (16) I, the LORD, once called them a thriving olive tree, beautiful to see and full of good fruit. But now I have sent the fury of their enemies to burn them with fire, leaving them charred and broken. (17) “I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, who planted this olive tree, have ordered it destroyed. For the people of Israel and Judah have done evil, arousing my anger by burning incense to Baal.” (18) Then the LORD told me about the plots my enemies were making against me. (19) I was like a lamb being led to the slaughter. I had no idea that they were planning to kill me! “Let’s destroy this man and all his words,” they said. “Let’s cut him down, so his name will be forgotten forever.”

    Jeremiah began this series of prophecies much like our last study by asking how and why the Jews relied on the stone temple to save them. Once again this makes me think about what I’ve missed in the last study. But this time my attention is focused on a new trend God’s Spirit introduced. The first prophecy used the symbol of an olive tree. The second prophecy used the symbol of lamb being led to slaughter. You would think those two prophecies would make it easier to locate the New Testament parallel texts for this prophecy, but I have to admit, it wasn’t easy for me. I looked at those key words and searched using words like destruction, broken, and destroyed. Because the prophecy tells us the lamb is led to slaughter to destroy that man and all his words, I of course focused on Jesus’ trial where He remained silent. But none of them seemed to cover the olive tree. It took me two days of praying and searching before I received the familiar knock on the head and heard the voice asking me, “are you listening?” I saw the first hints, and then it hit me like a ton of bricks. The key is the olive tree. I was trying to associate the olive tree with the fig tree Jesus withered. That turned out to be a bad idea but a valuable lesson to discuss.

    Remember how God showed Jeremiah a symbol than asked him what it meant? Jeremiah’s answer was always, “I don’t know, you tell me.” And God explained it. The olive and fig tree are related but on different levels. This shows how God is in control of those symbols He used, and the ONLY way we can understand their proper meaning is to listen to HIM and keep all His symbols within the context of His Word.

    John 18:1-9 NLTse After saying these things, Jesus crossed the Kidron Valley with his disciples and entered a grove of olive trees. (2) Judas, the betrayer, knew this place, because Jesus had often gone there with his disciples. (3) The leading priests and Pharisees had given Judas a contingent of Roman soldiers and Temple guards to accompany him. Now with blazing torches, lanterns, and weapons, they arrived at the olive grove. (4) Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” he asked. (5) “Jesus the Nazarene,” they replied. “I AM he,” Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.) (6) As Jesus said “I AM he,” they all drew back and fell to the ground! (7) Once more he asked them, “Who are you looking for?” And again they replied, “Jesus the Nazarene.” (8) “I told you that I AM he,” Jesus said. “And since I am the one you want, let these others go.” (9) He did this to fulfill his own statement: “I did not lose a single one of those you have given me.”

    In the prophecy, Jeremiah told us; “I, the LORD, once called them a thriving olive tree, beautiful to see and full of good fruit. But now I have sent the fury of their enemies to burn them with fire, leaving them charred and broken. “I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, who planted this olive tree, have ordered it destroyed. In simple terms, that olive tree will be destroyed. In contrast look how that symbols appeared in John’s Gospel. After saying these things, Jesus crossed the Kidron Valley with his disciples and entered a grove of olive trees. Standing alone this text does not appear to have much levity on Jeremiah. We clearly see the relationship and message when we compare other gospels. Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” (Matthew 26:36 NLTse). Jesus prayed in that olive groove just before Judas betrayed Him and He was arrested by a group made up of Roman and temple guards. Once we examine the details we begin to see how far the Jews slipped away from God. In Jeremiah’s time his warning went out to the Jews. In Jesus’ time those Jews were joined by the government. In this case Rome. We can see a little more light shed upon the symbols in Daniel representing the forth kingdom, Rome. It was unlike the other kingdoms. We see how the Jews joined with the forth kingdom to oppose Jesus. It was far more than opposing Jesus, they joined forces to kill Him. Daniel was a leader in the first kingdom, Babylon. Daniel was also a leader in the second kingdom, the Persians and Medes. Not much is written about the third kingdom, Greece. But we see Paul preaching in Greece and the New Testament was written in Greek. Those first three kingdoms had a relationship with God and the gospel. Rome was far different than the others based on the fact, the Roman government ordered Jesus’ execution. That wasn’t all Rome joined forces with the Jews to carry out. Together they persecuted early Christians. If that wasn’t enough, Rome finally reestablished a new order loosely based on Christianity but changing all the original forms of worship and the message given to the disciples in the name of unity. They’re form of unity resulted in some of the most violent persecution the world has seen.

    Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” he asked. We can look at this text in a number of different ways. When Jesus asked this question, He knew who they were looking for and why. John told us, Jesus knew what was about to happen. Do you think Jesus prayed only for Himself in the olive grove? If you knew Jesus you’d know He spent every minute available to pray for every person He wanted to save, and that was everyone. The prophecy and fulfillment compliment one another by showing that olive groove God planted was going to be destroyed. Taking Jesus prisoner was only one step in the process. Salvation was still a personal decision for each and everyone of those religious leaders and their followers. Of course Jesus prayed for them. The prophecy in Jeremiah told about a curse. Jesus prayed in an olive grove to show His concern for all of them present and in the future. Jesus’ question, “Who are you looking for?” Is still pertinent today. When people walk through church doors, who are they looking for? Jesus of course. How is Jesus presented to them? Today the most popular way of presenting Jesus is doctrines, traditions, and prophecies about this world. Neither one of those teach anything about Jesus. None of them are Biblical. They are man made methods of reaching out to the world showing once again how this world seems to think they can solve their own problems. This is the message we see in Jeremiah. “What right do my beloved people have to come to my Temple, when they have done so many immoral things?”

    The Tabernacle build by Moses and the Israelites had a specific physical pattern which extended to its services. Priests had to follow specific steps to wash and dress. They had to follow a specific path inside the Tabernacle court. Every item in the Tabernacle and all its associated services pointed to Jesus, His life and ministry. That is a pattern lost in today’s religious world. Ask a preacher to explain those details and you may receive an explanation of two or maybe three items. Worse yet, they most likely will mix items in the Tabernacle with items in the stone temple designed and build by a man from Tyre using taxes and slave labor. Can you see the pattern showing how this world mixes religion and government? Satan’s promise to Eve was to be like gods. This world is still reaching out to fulfill that promise. It seems as if this world forgot who made that promise. Only Jesus is both King and Priest. No one has the right to copy or attempt to duplicate that title or system.

    We’ve seen how Jeremiah was very dedicated to following orders from God. Look at how He worded this prophecy. “Let’s destroy this man and all his words,” they said. “Let’s cut him down, so his name will be forgotten forever.” Many people will confuse this prophecy with another. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7 NLTse). The fulfillment of this prophecy is found in other gospels. Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I demand in the name of the living God–tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” (Matthew 26:62-63 NLTse). In John’s book Jesus provided a few simple answers. Jeremiah’s prophecy did not say Jesus would remain silent. It says they will silence Him.

    Why did they want to silence Jesus? What did He say during His trials those religious leaders didn’t want the world to hear? It’s easy to quickly find the words Jesus spoke by looking at a red letter Bible where Jesus’ words are in red.

    Jesus answered him, “I spoke openly to the world; I always taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, where the Jews always met; and in secret have I said nothing. Why do you ask me? Ask them who heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. Say you this thing of yourself, or did others tell it to you of me? My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from here.” Pilate therefore said unto him, “Are you a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.” (John 18:20-21, 34, 36-37 KJ2000).

    What words were worth killing Jesus over and why? Jesus began by telling them to talk to the people who were His witnesses. We can see how Jesus was denied witnesses. Do you understand how that relates to Satan’s plans today? How many people are capable of witnessing for Jesus? If you had to tell someone about your relationship with Jesus would it be convincing? How long would your testimony last? Would your witnessing be an individual testimony needed at that particular time? Think about this for a moment. If you had to rely on your testimony about Jesus to save you, would it? Is that what those religious leaders feared? It’s easy to see how those religious leaders were controlled by Satan. It’s not as easy to admit giving into Satan when your personal testimony of Jesus is not real, sincere, and real.

    Jesus also told them His Kingdom is not of this world. Neither is His Word. Neither should our testimony be about this world. There are too many complaints and not enough answers. Most of the answers we hear are from this world and not from Heaven. Those religious leaders feared Jesus as much as they feared loosing control. It’s a fear that still runs a lot of the churches and organizations in this world. It’s a fear that can only be overcome by the real message from Heaven, from Jesus’ Kingdom. Jesus said more than the world will ever imagine … those who work so hard to silence Him do not understand. Caiaphas didn’t understand the prophecy he spoke. First they took him to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest at that time. Caiaphas was the one who had told the other Jewish leaders, “It’s better that one man should die for the people.” (John 18:13-14 NLTse). Jesus had to endure two trails at the hands of the priests and religious leaders. That has a spiritual significance you can pray about and investigate on your own. It’s not by chance there are two prophecies in Jeremiah 11 and the fulfillment of both is found in John 18.

    John 18:19-24 NLTse Inside, the high priest began asking Jesus about his followers and what he had been teaching them. (20) Jesus replied, “Everyone knows what I teach. I have preached regularly in the synagogues and the Temple, where the people gather. I have not spoken in secret. (21) Why are you asking me this question? Ask those who heard me. They know what I said.” (22) Then one of the Temple guards standing nearby slapped Jesus across the face. “Is that the way to answer the high priest?” he demanded. (23) Jesus replied, “If I said anything wrong, you must prove it. But if I’m speaking the truth, why are you beating me?” (24) Then Annas bound Jesus and sent him to Caiaphas, the high priest.

    Jesus was hauled into the high priest’s home bound in chains and ropes. A pole was inserted below Jesus’ arm with His hands tied behind His back. Guards used that pole to control prisoners. Lifting on the pole exerted a great deal of pain by pulling their shoulders from the sockets. For guards it made turning and directing prisoners much easier. The guards who arrested Jesus used it for sport. Although Jesus freely gave Himself up and followed instructions, those guards lifted up on that pole to see Him suffer. In Jesus’ case a long chain hung from His neck trailing behind Him. In the olive grove and along the road that chain often snagged on bushes and weeds along the path choking the Savior. A guard following behind some times stepped in that chain to see Jesus jerked back and fall to the ground. Jesus had the choice of falling straight back where His head would strike the ground or to one side where the pole between His back and arms would tear His arms from His body. Most of those guards laughed at His suffering. Demons pushed them to inflict the maximum amount of pain on God’s Son as they marched Him to the high priest.

    There was no reason to question Jesus in the high priest’s home. Nothing like this was ever done. The high priest neglected to wear the breastplate God designed to consult in matters of life and death. Seeing this, Jesus knew what the verdict would be before the first question was asked. That is why Jesus answered them by telling them to ask the people who listened to Him. It was a nice way of telling them, Jesus knew He would not be allowed witnesses in His trial. It was also a way of telling them, His witness would continue after His trial and execution.

    Jesus’ trail was well planned and every step rehearsed down to the last witness the priests gathered against Jesus. But at the trial the thoughts and words from those witnesses was scrambled by an unseen force. Unknown and unseen by the religious leaders because they didn’t know God or His voice. But the voice and instructions from demons was loud and clear to them.

    The high priest began asking Jesus about his followers and what he had been teaching them. Jesus looked around the room at each face. He saw many of them when He preached. Jesus knew those people heard what He said. Jesus also knew few words touched their hearts. Jesus knew how their preconceived ideas and doctrines hid truth from their ears and eyes. Jesus knew they witnessed the miracles He performed. Jesus replied, “Everyone knows what I teach. I have preached regularly in the synagogues and the Temple, where the people gather. I have not spoken in secret.” For many of those priests this was a last call to salvation they would hear. Jesus had been praying for them before they arrested Him in that olive grove. Jesus had no choice but to request witnesses on His behalf. “Why are you asking me this question? Ask those who heard me. They know what I said.” Jesus followed court procedures which were not part of the high priest’s plans. Then one of the Temple guards standing nearby slapped Jesus across the face. “Is that the way to answer the high priest?” he demanded. This was nothing new. We see Jeremiah went through the same process when he delivered God’s messages. By now we should know, we have to compare the introduces from both chapters to see more details about this lesson being taught in scripture.

    Jeremiah 11:1-8 NLTse The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, (2) “Remind the people of Judah and Jerusalem about the terms of my covenant with them. (3) Say to them, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Cursed is anyone who does not obey the terms of my covenant! (4) For I said to your ancestors when I brought them out of the iron-smelting furnace of Egypt, “If you obey me and do whatever I command you, then you will be my people, and I will be your God.” (5) I said this so I could keep my promise to your ancestors to give you a land flowing with milk and honey–the land you live in today.'” Then I replied, “Amen, LORD! May it be so.” (6) Then the LORD said, “Broadcast this message in the streets of Jerusalem. Go from town to town throughout the land and say, ‘Remember the ancient covenant, and do everything it requires. (7) For I solemnly warned your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, “Obey me!” I have repeated this warning over and over to this day, (8) but your ancestors did not listen or even pay attention. Instead, they stubbornly followed their own evil desires. And because they refused to obey, I brought upon them all the curses described in this covenant.'”

    We have to compare the introduction of Jeremiah 11 to the introduction to John 18 which contains the fulfillment of one of the prophecies. What does the covenant have to do with Jesus praying in that olive grove and being arrested? Jesus followed God’s covenant and all His laws to prepare for that moment. On the other hand, Judas followed his own course, ideas, and concepts. Hence we see the result from each course. Jesus received God’s promise and more. What did Judas get? Judas continued to follow his own course by making his own decisions, and believed his way was the only way. “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.” “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.” Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself. (Matthew 27:4-5 NLTse). Those priests were as guilty as Judas was when it came to doing things their own way. They arrested Jesus and tried Him their own way. They ignored God’s method for trying a man. Then of course one thing led to another when they tried to cover up Jesus’ resurrection. One mistake after another was made. Nothing worked out for them. A lesson we need to look at whenever we feel we are wise enough to plot our own course.

    Jeremiah 11:20-23 NLTse (20) O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, you make righteous judgments, and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets. Let me see your vengeance against them, for I have committed my cause to you. (21) This is what the LORD says about the men of Anathoth who wanted me dead. They had said, “We will kill you if you do not stop prophesying in the LORD’s name.” (22) So this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says about them: “I will punish them! Their young men will die in battle, and their boys and girls will starve to death. (23) Not one of these plotters from Anathoth will survive, for I will bring disaster upon them when their time of punishment comes.”

    You can see how comparing prophecies with their fulfillment brings out more details than ever imagined. Jeremiah lived through this prophecy which also pointed to the future event of Jesus’ trial and how God was going to deal with those religious leaders. Why couldn’t those religions leaders who condemned Jesus look back and see those simple lessons? This was a lesson God’s Spirit was trying to reach those religious leaders with. But they wouldn’t listen. Instead they continued their plans to silence Jesus. John provided a detailed account.

    John 18:28-40 NLTse Jesus’ trial before Caiaphas ended in the early hours of the morning. Then he was taken to the headquarters of the Roman governor. His accusers didn’t go inside because it would defile them, and they wouldn’t be allowed to celebrate the Passover. (29) So Pilate, the governor, went out to them and asked, “What is your charge against this man?” (30) “We wouldn’t have handed him over to you if he weren’t a criminal!” they retorted. (31) “Then take him away and judge him by your own law,” Pilate told them. “Only the Romans are permitted to execute someone,” the Jewish leaders replied. (32) (This fulfilled Jesus’ prediction about the way he would die.) (33) Then Pilate went back into his headquarters and called for Jesus to be brought to him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked him. (34) Jesus replied, “Is this your own question, or did others tell you about me?” (35) “Am I a Jew?” Pilate retorted. “Your own people and their leading priests brought you to me for trial. Why? What have you done?” (36) Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.” (37) Pilate said, “So you are a king?” Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” (38) “What is truth?” Pilate asked. Then he went out again to the people and told them, “He is not guilty of any crime. (39) But you have a custom of asking me to release one prisoner each year at Passover. Would you like me to release this ‘King of the Jews’?” (40) But they shouted back, “No! Not this man. We want Barabbas!” (Barabbas was a revolutionary.)

    If those religious leaders had reviewed the price Jerusalem had to pay for not listening to God or His prophet Jeremiah, maybe they would have listened to Jesus. John tells us those Jewish leaders knew something about God’s law. His accusers didn’t go inside of Pilates palace because it would defile them, and they wouldn’t be allowed to celebrate the Passover. I’m not sure where they got that from. John is pointing us to the fact priests and Pharisees wrote a kind of commentary on scripture. In their minds that commentary explained everything in scripture in terms people could understand. In essence that commentary turned out to be another idol placed between themselves and God. Don’t be too surprised. Most denominations follow the same course. The biggest mistake those priests made was not referring to scripture which is the same mistake committed today. People refer to books, commentaries, web sites, anything and everything except the Bible. Then they consider themselves experts without consult the universe’s one source of infinite wisdom. All they are doing is denying time with God’s Spirit in His Word.

    Preparations for Jesus trial didn’t seem out work well for those priests. They hoped the tide would turn in their favor and they could once gain control of the situation. The next phase was to present Jesus to Pilate. Jesus was presented to Pilate with the visual effect of a condemned prisoner. He was bound in chains and beaten. All of this was planned to give Pilate the visual effect of a guilty criminal. That didn’t work either. Pilate saw trough their scheme and personally questioned Jesus. Pilate knew those priests staged the whole scene and he knew why. For years Pilate received reports about Jesus from his guard who he trusted, and continuous complaints from the priests and Pharisees, he didn’t trust. Pilate saw how those reports did not agree. Scripture explains how Jesus requested witnesses. The priests denied Jesus that right, but God already provided Pilate with a list of his own witnesses. Jesus told Pilate, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.” This was something the priests did not want to hear. It was a detail they could not accept. It was one of the reasons they wanted to kill Him. Jesus told about this in a parable. “Finally, the owner sent his son, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’ “But when the tenant farmers saw his son coming, they said to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Come on, let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!'” (Matthew 21:37-38 NLTse). Pilate said, “So you are a king?” Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” There were two reasons those priests could not understand Jesus’ messages and ministry. They did not love Jesus or the truth. They loved their customs and traditions more than God’s Savior.

    As we’ve seen in this study, God’s time line is crossed by many events. Jeremiah’s prophecy contains two events, the olive tree and Jesus being silenced. The two are related. Jesus’ rejection and execution led to the final destruction of Jerusalem’s temple, a prophecy Jeremiah and other prophets repeated. Jesus’ arrest was preceded by His prayers in the olive grove. In both prophecies God used symbols. Jeremiah showed us how we rely on God to tell us what symbols represent. I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love. I will praise you forever, O God, for what you have done. I will trust in your good name in the presence of your faithful people. (Psalms 52:8-9 NLTse). David told us what an olive tree is supposed to represent. Some one who trusts in God. But there is another side of the story. Paul tells us about a change that olive tree will undergo. And since Abraham and the other patriarchs were holy, their descendants will also be holy–just as the entire batch of dough is holy because the portion given as an offering is holy. For if the roots of the tree are holy, the branches will be, too. But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree–some of the people of Israel–have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree. But you must not brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off. You are just a branch, not the root. “Well,” you may say, “those branches were broken off to make room for me.” Yes, but remember–those branches were broken off because they didn’t believe in Christ, and you are there because you do believe. So don’t think highly of yourself, but fear what could happen. For if God did not spare the original branches, he won’t spare you either. (Romans 11:16-21 NLTse).

    We can see the olive tree was not completely destroyed. God broke off those branches that wouldn’t produce and replaced them with new branched that will produce. As a whole the Levitical priesthood failed. To remove all doubt, God chose the line of David of Judah to bring His Son into this world. That last Passover when Jesus died marked the death of a spiritual first born son, the end of the Levitical priesthood. “Look, I have chosen the Levites from among the Israelites to serve as substitutes for all the firstborn sons of the people of Israel. The Levites belong to me, for all the firstborn males are mine. On the day I struck down all the firstborn sons of the Egyptians, I set apart for myself all the firstborn in Israel, both of people and of animals. They are mine; I am the LORD.” “Of all the people of Israel, the Levites are reserved for me. I have claimed them for myself in place of all the firstborn sons of the Israelites; I have taken the Levites as their substitutes. For all the firstborn males among the people of Israel are mine, both of people and of animals. I set them apart for myself on the day I struck down all the firstborn sons of the Egyptians. Yes, I have claimed the Levites in place of all the firstborn sons of Israel. And of all the Israelites, I have assigned the Levites to Aaron and his sons. They will serve in the Tabernacle on behalf of the Israelites and make sacrifices to purify the people so no plague will strike them when they approach the sanctuary.” (Numbers 3:12-13, 8:16-19 NLTse). So there won’t be any mistake, Paul used Gentiles as a symbol so we would see those new branches included us. Are you a productive branch or a broken branch on that olive tree?

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Isaiah 63:1-5 Blood Stained Clothing

Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 18, 2016


  • Isaiah 63:1-5 Blood Stained Clothing

    Isaiah 63:1-5 NLTse Who is this who comes from Edom, from the city of Bozrah, with his clothing stained red? Who is this in royal robes, marching in his great strength? “It is I, the LORD, announcing your salvation! It is I, the LORD, who has the power to save!” (2) Why are your clothes so red, as if you have been treading out grapes? (3) “I have been treading the winepress alone; no one was there to help me. In my anger I have trampled my enemies as if they were grapes. In my fury I have trampled my foes. Their blood has stained my clothes. (4) For the time has come for me to avenge my people, to ransom them from their oppressors. (5) I was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So I myself stepped in to save them with my strong arm, and my wrath sustained me.

    Isaiah 63:15-19 NLTse LORD, look down from heaven; look from your holy, glorious home, and see us. Where is the passion and the might you used to show on our behalf? Where are your mercy and compassion now? (16) Surely you are still our Father! Even if Abraham and Jacob would disown us, LORD, you would still be our Father. You are our Redeemer from ages past. (17) LORD, why have you allowed us to turn from your path? Why have you given us stubborn hearts so we no longer fear you? Return and help us, for we are your servants, the tribes that are your special possession. (18) How briefly your holy people possessed your holy place, and now our enemies have destroyed it. (19) Sometimes it seems as though we never belonged to you, as though we had never been known as your people.

    I wanted to approach this study a little differently. I’ve done this in the past because there has always been a reason. This time as I was highlighting the texts, going back and forth between chapters, I could see a few details coming out. The first is, studying the prophecy and fulfillment together not only show us how the prophecy is fulfilled, but show us what questions to ask. The first question I saw was, why was Jesus working alone? “I have been treading the winepress alone; no one was there to help me.” Of course this points to us and the lack of cooperation and concern this world has for God’s plan of salvation. This prophecy points to Revelation 19 which of course provided the answer. But first take a minute and think about that question. Why is Jesus working alone? Why aren’t people helping Him? My guess is people reading this book are coming up with 1000 reasons. Are any of them correct? Let’s see how they measure up to the answer in Revelation 19. “The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses.” Jesus was not working alone. That lack of concern points to this world who forgot we have God’s army behind us and with us to help at all times, in every need, with every problem. We have powers at our side we can’t imagine. But this doesn’t stop people from making up excuses. For one reason or another people don’t want to get involved in God’s plan of salvation which at this moment is compared to a war.

    Notice how Isaiah introduced this chapter. Who is this who comes from Edom, from the city of Bozrah, with his clothing stained red? Who is this in royal robes, marching in his great strength? “It is I, the LORD, announcing your salvation! It is I, the LORD, who has the power to save!” Why would Isaiah write a prophecy about Jesus coming from Edom and a place hardly anyone knows anything about? Well study the city of Bozrah yourself and you’ll find out. Then maybe you’ll begin learning how God recorded prophecy in His book.

    When Jesus comes from Bozrah, He announces the plan of salvation He is fulfilling. Oops, I gave away a portion of the question asked in the previous paragraph. Jesus comes from Bozrah to save. The question may be, to save us from what? Part of the answer is in the first few verses of the introduction. Save us from ourselves. Our foolish pride and the concept we either know the answer, or it’s too hard to figure it out, so we’ll let someone do the work for us. Not many people know why Jesus comes through Bozrah to save this world.

    Isaiah 63 gives us a list of key words to lead us to a parallel chapter. Using the key words robe, blood, and winepress make Revelation 19 the evident choice. When people look at Revelation 19, they may ask, why is Jesus robe dipped in blood? I don’t care what you’ve been told or taught, Isaiah 63 provided the answer long before Revelation was written and long before any wannabe teacher thought up an answer. Why are your clothes so red, as if you have been treading out grapes? “I have been treading the winepress alone; no one was there to help me. In my anger I have trampled my enemies as if they were grapes. In my fury I have trampled my foes. Their blood has stained my clothes. Maybe that’s why those teachers don’t want to give you the right answer. They would have to explain why Jesus is left alone to do all the work. Look at a parable Jesus taught with a winepress in it. The owner built a vineyard then rented it out to a few farmers. Those farmers got greedy and didn’t want to share a portion of the harvest with the owner. Remember that one? That was the parable where the land owner sends His messengers, who the tenants killed. Then he sent his son, who the tenants killed. They made up their own plan. In their minds when they killed the son, they would inherit the vineyard. Of course that would require changing a few more of God’s laws. But what’s a few more changes, a few more sins if your willing to go as far as murder to get what you want? Then again — give this some more thought. How does the story about those evil tenants relate to us – living in this hour of earth’s history, sitting around thinking of excuses not to get involved with God’s plan of salvation? When we don’t want to get involved, are we any better than those farmers who killed the land owner’s son?

    If those wannabe teachers were able to explain why Jesus is working alone, they could see how they’ve been preaching the wrong message. God’s plan of salvation does not involve making up a whole bunch of prophecies about this world. Wannabe prophets make up those prophecies to attract more people to themselves and make more money. They could care less about God’s plan of salvation or how to correctly study God’s Word. Wannabe prophets make up their own rules, messages, plans, and in most cases make a few changes to God’s laws just like those farmers did to get the owner’s land. Those farmers were so stupid, they forgot the owner was still alive and able to even the score. Wannabe prophets forget God is still alive and kicking. He is also listening and has an army at His command recording everything. Every lie they make up. Every dollar they make. Every attempt God’s Spirit makes to correct them. Every opportunity they are given to bless others with the money they stole. Every change they had to accept Jesus’ sacrifice and begin the process of sanctification. God’s army may be busy recording things now, but one day they’ll be called to action. What do you want your guardian angel doing? Recording a list of sins or helping you do what God needs you to do?

    To get a good feeling on what Isaiah 63 and Revelation 19 bring out when they are combined, let’s take a look at the fulfillment of the prophecy in addition to the introduction and summation together.

    Revelation 19:11-18 NLTse (11) Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. (12) His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. (13) He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. (14) The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. (15) From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. (16) On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords. (17) Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, shouting to the vultures flying high in the sky: “Come! Gather together for the great banquet God has prepared. (18) Come and eat the flesh of kings, generals, and strong warriors; of horses and their riders; and of all humanity, both free and slave, small and great.”

    Revelation 19:1-9 NLTse (1) After this, I heard what sounded like a vast crowd in heaven shouting, “Praise the LORD! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God. (2) His judgments are true and just. He has punished the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality. He has avenged the murder of his servants.” (3) And again their voices rang out: “Praise the LORD! The smoke from that city ascends forever and ever!” (4) Then the twenty-four elders and the four living beings fell down and worshiped God, who was sitting on the throne. They cried out, “Amen! Praise the LORD!” (5) And from the throne came a voice that said, “Praise our God, all his servants, all who fear him, from the least to the greatest.” (6) Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder: “Praise the LORD! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. (7) Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. (8) She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.” For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people. (9) And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.”

    Revelation 19:19-21 NLTse (19) Then I saw the beast and the kings of the world and their armies gathered together to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army. (20) And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who did mighty miracles on behalf of the beastmiracles that deceived all who had accepted the mark of the beast and who worshiped his statue. Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. (21) Their entire army was killed by the sharp sword that came from the mouth of the one riding the white horse. And the vultures all gorged themselves on the dead bodies.

    As you may have noticed, the introduction to Revelation begins with victory in Heaven. You may not notice it until you compare the introduction and summation together, but the battle is recorded in the summation. Revelation seems to be written out of sequence. You may be asking yourself why. Although Revelation is thought to be written in Greek, like most of the New Testament, remember, John was a Jew. We can see John was Jewish based on the way Revelation was written. His writing style followed a pattern seen throughout the Old Testament. Writers often recorded events highlighting major details, then go back to fill in finer details. This writing style was introduced in Genesis where the author recorded the sequence of creation and later added more details about it. Revelation is written with the same process. When we study an event like Jesus’ wedding, the final battle, destruction of evil, or any other subject in Revelation, we need to collect all the texts on that subject in the chapter, and book, as well as details in other books of the Bible. This is one of those common sense Bible Study rules we should all follow. When we match up the original prophecy with chapters in other books explaining how it’s fulfilled, it becomes much easier to see the proper sequence. Another thing matching the prophecy to it’s fulfillment does is shows us questions we should ask. We’ve seen that in this study.

    Isaiah tells us Jesus came from Edom. Revelation 19, like most chapters in Revelation begins in Heaven. See the contrast? Now we can see why Edom is associated with people neglecting the work they are supposed to do for Jesus. Edom represents Jacob’s twin brother Esau. This is the account of the descendants of Esau (also known as Edom). (Genesis 36:1 NLTse). Esau gave away his birth right as the first born for a lunch. Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”) “All right,” Jacob replied, “but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.” “Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?” (Genesis 25:30-32 NLTse). What are we selling our invitation to Jesus’ wedding for?

    Jesus’ rode and white linen are also key lessons between Isaiah 63 and Revelation 19. One of the reasons it is key is the colors. I’m sure people like getting into what those colors may represent, but let’s keep this in context. ” “I have been treading the winepress alone; no one was there to help me.” Red blood on white linen is impossible to hide. Jesus wants to make it clear how hard He is working for us. There’s no doubt about it. This is the main theme of salvation – what Jesus has done and continues to do for us. But many Christians never get past that cross. They put Jesus back on that cross every time they want to witness. Their testimony is the same no matter who they meet and what their needs may be. Those type of Christians are in such a deep rut it is almost impossible to get them out of it. Until they open their eyes, they’ll never understand the name Jesus wants to give them.

    After the cross Jesus taught His disciples everything over again. This time it only took forty days instead of three years. At least those disciples remembered some of the details. Then Jesus went up into Heaven. What do you think He has been doing there? Do you think He has been sitting around for 2000 years waiting for us? I’ve heard a hundred sermons on what people think Jesus is doing in Heaven. Most claim He is waiting because there are too many souls waiting to be saved to return now. Is that it? What about the judgment? Jesus has been working on the judgment for more than 150 years. When is He going to finish? We don’t know. The world heard those bells on the bottom of the High Priest’s robe when He walked into the Holy Sanctuary to begin judgment in 1844. But who is listening for the sound of those bells when He leaves the Sanctuary signaling judgment is over? Hardly anyone. Is that part of the message we should be preaching now? It is part of Jesus’ ministry, part of God’s plan of salvation. But hardly anyone can teach a thing about Jesus’ ministry. Sure they take a parable every once in a while and preach about what they think it means. But do they know how to show why Jesus taught parables in a certain sequence which was meant to be studied together? It took me years of study to finally see and understand that detail. Then I asked why no one else saw it.

    Come on now. I don’t have any formal training and no six year degree in theology. Why is it I can see those details and so many people who claim to be experts, God’s chose people, miss what is now obvious to me and a few others? Then I was shown books written over 150 years ago discussing those sequences Jesus taught in and how they combine to show much, much deeper truth and understanding. It seems the world today is stuck on the milk of God’s Word and like it there. No growth, no advancement, no real relationship with God, and no idea of what to preach or how to preach it. Jesus said, “I was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So I myself stepped in to save them with my strong arm, and my wrath sustained me.” Why does Jesus tell us His wrath sustained Him? Look up the word wrath. It is bottled up anger. Now you know how Jesus is going to feel when He steps out of Heaven’s Sanctuary and sees nothing done. Jesus left this world with explicate instructions and the world let people change them. There will be no room for excuses. It’ll be too late. When we hear those bells, judgment will be over with.

    Revelation gives us a bit more hope along with explaining how everything will be accomplished. From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. This follows a detailed description of Jesus for a reason. When people realize what this means and see Jesus for who He really is and what He has been doing for them, it’ll be too late. That’s when your going to see an angel standing in the sun, shouting to the vultures flying high in the sky: “Come! Gather together for the great banquet God has prepared. (18) Come and eat the flesh of kings, generals, and strong warriors; of horses and their riders; and of all humanity, both free and slave, small and great.” Why does God use vultures, birds of prey and scavengers as a symbol? Who wants to get eaten by a crow? That’s what those birds do, they clean up every last scrap. It’s a symbol showing how complete the devastation will be.

    Why does Revelation mention the kings and leaders of this world? Revelation 12 and 13 show how Satan, the dragon hides behind images. Kings of the earth hide behind their authority. Look at the kings of this world today. Here in the US we have a leader forcing everyone into his plans to provide health care. His plan does nothing more than making one of the wealthiest people in the world wealthier. One health care company is running the whole show. Laws are changing to increase profits while denying basic health care to millions. The US cannot provide proper health care for its warriors, its military veterans. The plan is not right. Policies are costing people millions and benefit the rich. What is the leader in the US doing? Hiding behind authority. Look at Israel today. Israel is suffering rocket attacks from Gaza. In retaliation Israel is bombing everything from military sites to hospitals. Too many innocent children, women, and men have lost their lives. Neither side is making the right decisions. Neither side is asking God what they should do. Both leaders are making decisions and hiding behind their authority. This is happening all over the world. Fanatic religious leaders wage war on anyone they feel like. Some claim to be led by God. They all claim to serve God. But how? They never explain why. They hide behind their authority. But they can’t hide from God. We see that in Revelation.

    Revelation 19 begins with a lot of praise. God is praised for His salvation, glory, power, for punishing the prostitute who corrupted the earth, and for Jesus’ wedding. Get the picture. We just had a quick review of Jesus’ ministry. I’ll bet you missed it because the world thrives on distorted views We have a list of subjects to preach, neither of them included a preacher’s best guess on what is going to happen in the world tomorrow, or a list of doctrines. Just as Revelation 19 begins in Heaven, so should the message we deliver. Not from a board meeting, seminar, or pamphlet written in this world. Revelation 21 tells us about the army God has to back us up, to deliver messages, to help guide us as well as protect us from the attacks we’re going to experience the moment we step up to work along side Jesus. Of course Jesus is not working alone, but uses it as a symbol to emphasize the point He needs more people to stand up.

    Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.” For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people. Once again we see Jesus’ wedding, one of the most important messages we can bring to the world. Revelation 21 gives us the choice of being invited to a wedding or a war. Which one are you waiting for? The choice is yours. That war is described at the end of Revelation 19. The opposing army is led by the beast, Satan, who is supported by a false prophet. We see Satan’s false prophet hard at work these days using all the media and outlets available. Satan’s false prophet is a symbol pointing to that self reliance Satan deceives people with. Many people try to identify all the false prophets. By doing so they either forget general Bible Study rules or want to write their own rules. The fulfillment of a prophecy is always greater than its symbol. Because Revelation 21 uses symbols, we have to follow that rule for every symbol. Not bend it or throw it out the window for one of those symbols. So let’s examine the summations the way we’ve learned. They are the acid test to check for consistency between the chapters.

    Isaiah closed with a plea. “LORD, look down from heaven; look from your holy, glorious home, and see us. Where is the passion and the might you used to show on our behalf? Where are your mercy and compassion now?” Isaiah wrote what those people inside Jerusalem felt before it fell to Babylon. They felt alone and abandoned. They finally reached a point where they knew God was not present. In desperation they pleaded for help. “Hey you up there. Remember me? I’m your son, or so you told me long ago.” Isaiah wrote, “Surely you are still our Father! Even if Abraham and Jacob would disown us, LORD, you would still be our Father. You are our Redeemer from ages past.” When desperate times call for desperate measures, where do lost children finally turn? To their parents. Like the parable of the son who takes his share of the inheritance then spends it on parties and whores. That son ran out of money, food, everything. It took him time to remember how good life was like when he lived with his father. Jerusalem was the same in Isaiah’s time. It was much the same in Jesus’ time. It is pretty much the same today. People don’t have a lot of use for God or their parents when times are good. Things have to get bad, real bad before they finally realize what it was like as a child. The happy times. Not a care in the world. Everything they needed was provided for. They may not have had everything they wanted, but they always had more than the needed. That’s where God wants us to be. In a state of knowing everything we need has been provided for. God sees our needs long before we see them. He also sees our trials long before they occur. Many people just can’t believe God is always watching over them and is able to provide for all our needs.

    LORD, why have you allowed us to turn from your path? Why have you given us stubborn hearts so we no longer fear you? Return and help us, for we are your servants, the tribes that are your special possession. This shows how shallow their belief in God is and what little faith they have, and how they’ve been deceived by self reliance. They blamed God for the path in life they choose. The blamed God for their hearts of stone. They finally saw how far they drifted away from God, but were not tested enough to realize their choices put them in the situation they were in. Sanctification is a process just like Bible Study is a process. We’ve learned when we follow that process to the letter, God’s Spirit reveals much more than other people ever saw in a few verses or chapters. We’ve seen how one event is linked to another. We’ve seen how choices were made and what the consequences were. Looking back on history is one thing. Looking back on our lives is another matter. It’s hard to admit you were wrong. For some people it’s nearly impossible to admit they made the wrong choice. That is the first step in healing and getting back on the right path. If you look over Jerusalem’s history you’ll see it is filled with instances when Jerusalem found themselves in situations they could never get themselves out of. That’s when they turned to God and of course God came in to save the day in a way only God could do. Jerusalem saw many miracles that could have only come from God. They soon forgot — then went back to doing things their own way. They never really turned to God more than 50%. Each time they drew themselves further and further away from God. Each time it took a bigger and more severe trial to get their attention and finally look at themselves as the cause. What would it take? They saw parents eating children, dead bodies in the streets, the world’s largest army camped outside their walls. All of those physical signs showed how far they drifted from God. If they didn’t understand those physical signs, how are they going to understand the spiritual? “Sometimes it seems as though we never belonged to you, as though we had never been known as your people.”

    It’s not by chance John closed the chapter of Revelation 21 with the same scene Jerusalem witnessed. This time, for us, it is still a spiritual symbol, a future event which will one day be physically fulfilled. Is that what we need before we finally see how far we’ve drifted away from God? Do we have to find ourselves outside New Jerusalem’s walls as a member of Satan’s army before we realize our decisions put us in that spot? How does that false prophet put us in that spot? How does that false prophet draw us away from God? For those wannabe prophets, Satan teaches them to be self reliant. He convinces people they have some sort of power to look at a line of scripture, compare it to the world and come up with an interpretation on their own. They rely upon themselves more and more. Of course their prophecies prove to be false. This drives them to a point of relying more and more on themselves and that power Satan promised them. As one prophecy after another proves to be wrong, they try harder and harder to get one right. Those wannabe prophets will do anything to be right once. If a small portion of one of their prophecies appears to be 1% accurate, they shower tons of praise on themselves.

    Like those people inside Jerusalem, wannabe prophets don’t want to turn to God. They can’t admit their wrong. Pride will not allow it. Satan convinced them they have to work their way into God’s favor. Or those riches Satan showers upon them convince wannabe prophets they are a success. Once again Satan conquers using pride and riches. Satan uses wannabe prophets to deceive millions. Instead of listening to God, people listen to false prophets. People think salvation comes from prophecy, but just in case they pray to Jesus to forgive their sins. They never stop to listen to God’s Spirit. False prophets send out marching orders from Satan. “Tell the world it is about to end. Share my prophecies with the world. You are doing God’s work.” People following false prophets receive their messages from the world. The world listens because it loves their own. The world listens because those messages ignore the convicting power of God’s Spirit. There is never a need to examine yourself to see what needs change. There is never a message to take to an individual and get involved with their instant needs.

    People love those false prophecies. They accept them so readily because it makes them just like the false prophet. People love to walk around thinking they know something other people don’t know. Like the priests Jesus talked about. They love long boarders on their robes and long public prayers. They love to draw attention to themselves. They love the attention. They love putting people down. They love the control, and are willing to pay for it. They send money to false prophets convincing themselves they are supporting God’s cause. But where has God ever said we are supposed to take out messages concerning future prophecies? Can you show me one text?

    After Jesus taught in the temple court, He warned His disciples against teaching future prophecies. He told them they are never to join forces with them or adopt their ways. The disciples thought lf they joined forces with the priests and Pharisees, they would be stronger. Of course the disciples thought they would be in charge. But that would never work. The priests and Pharisees would never relinquish their social status. This is why false prophets cause so many divisions. By nature they are controlled by pride and self confidence.

    If we looked up the term false prophet in the Bible, we would find dozens of examples explaining what a false prophet is and what he does. Many of them are found in Jeremiah. “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in this land– the prophets give false prophecies, and the priests rule with an iron hand. Worse yet, my people like it that way! But what will you do when the end comes?” (Jeremiah 5:30-31 NLTse). Revelation 19 tells us what will happen in the end. “Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.” It shouldn’t be a difficult decision to make, but many people don’t know there is a decision to make, or what their choices are.

    Using simple Bible Study methods we’ve learned from the Bible, we see the beast and false prophet are repeated because they are key words in the chapter. John the author is calling attention to them by repeating them. That’s a signal telling us to study them. Revelation explains the beast’s role and association. I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God. They worshiped the dragon for giving the beast such power, and they also worshiped the beast. “Who is as great as the beast?” they exclaimed. “Who is able to fight against him?” The devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 13:1, 4, 20:10 NLTse). As we can see, key words are explained by the Bible.

    On the other hand, the word mark is not repeated in Revelation 19. It only appears once in Revelation 19. Mark of the beast is not a key word. The author didn’t want to draw attention to it, but men do. They like to focus on that mark. Revelation 13 is the only chapter that mark is repeated. He required everyone–small and great, rich and poor, free and slave–to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name. Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666. (Revelation 13:16-18 NLTse). Revelation 13 is the only chapter in Revelation that begins in this world. Every other chapter in Revelation begins in Heaven. But Revelation is the chapter of choice for most wannabe prophets. They love that chapter because it points them to the world. They use Revelation because the world loves hearing the things of the world. Because Revelation 13 begins in this world, they feel the can use events in the world to interpret every line. They take one line then look for something in the world that seems to fit it. This is not proper Bible Study, but God knew it was going to happen. God arranged His Word so we could see what was happening and why.

    There are hundreds of interpretations to the mark of the beast. Every single one of them came from the world, just like the chapter showed. God set up a test the world failed. God also showed us how to distinguish Satan’s false prophets from God’s prophets. How does Jesus put an end to that beast and his false prophet? “Their entire army was killed by the sharp sword that came from the mouth of the one riding the white horse.” Jesus destroys them with His Word. Jesus’ word contains more power than to destroy. If you don’t know how Jesus’ Word saves, you have a lot to learn. If you don’t know how Jesus’ Word reveals that false prophet, you have a lot of studying to do. Most people heard Jesus’ Word cuts both ways, but then again they want to interpret that symbol on their own. There are too many people in this world taking God’s Word and try pulling it down to their level. They don’t know how to ask God’s Spirit what it means and know little or nothing about how God’s Word interprets itself.

    It’s not difficult to learn how to study, understand, and teach God’s Word. It’s a simple enough process for a child to learn. It only takes a little time, patients, and a connection with God’s Spirit. Which one do you lack? The steps are easy and illustrated in most of these studies in this book.

    Collect the texts to study.

    • Highlight words that are the same, similar, or related.
    • Put the study aside and pray.
    • Look at the texts and identify the key thought.
    • Use key words that are highlighted to search for related texts.
    • Compare the main thoughts in the introductions and summations in the two chapters.
    • Highlight words that are the same, similar, or related in the chapters introductions and summations.
    • Compare the key words in the chapters introductions and summations.
    • Put the study aside and pray.
    • Begin writing by paying attention to the key words.
    • Expand writing to include the key thoughts.
    • Put the study aside and pray.
    • Write the conclusions.
    • Pray and review
    • ShareOnce you realize this spiritual war we are all facing is fought with words, why would you go to the enemy for ammunition? Do you really want to be shooting off duds like those wannabe prophets? Or do you want to do the right thing? Learn to talk to God and listen. Introduce your friends, family, and everyone your sent to reach to Jesus and let Him handle the situation. Jesus is the only One who knows how to cut straight to the heart and heal.

      In the summary to Isaiah 63 we’re shown Jerusalem was destroyed by her enemies. “How briefly your holy people possessed your holy place, and now our enemies have destroyed it.” Revelation 19 shows us how the enemy is destroyed. “Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. Their entire army was killed by the sharp sword that came from the mouth of the one riding the white horse.” We don’t have much of a choice but to prepare for battle one way or the other. Our actions and words support either one side or the other.

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Isaiah 53:1-12 A Man of Sorrows

Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 17, 2016


  • Isaiah 53:1-12 A Man of Sorrows

    Isaiah 53:1-12 NLTse Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm? (2) My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. (3) He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. (4) Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! (5) But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. (6) All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all. (7) He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. (8) Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. (9) He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave. (10) But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s good plan will prosper in his hands. (11) When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. (12) I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

    Isaiah 53 may be the best known prophecy about Jesus and is one of the most quoted prophecies by New Testament writers. Without a doubt, an entire book can be written on Isaiah 53 and all the New Testament scripture it points to. Here is an exercise for you to do on your own. I already did it and I was amazed at what I found. I used E-Sword, a free computer Bible program to look up all the New Testament texts it is linked to. Using the TSK (Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge) all I had to do was hover the cursor over the links and read a pop up window displaying texts that tell a story all its own. To keep this study to a minimum, we will look at one chapter to see what story it tells. This example will show you how to take your time to study scripture in a defined pattern. This allows God’s Spirit to bring many more details to your mind. Always take your time whenever studying the Bible. It is the most opportune time to listen to God’s voice.

    Because Isaiah 53 was a popular chapter New Testament authors referred to, I am only going to look at one of those chapters. You can use the same study methods to look deeper into the passion of this prophecy about Jesus’ sacrifice.

    John 12:35-43 NLTse Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. (36) Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.” After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them. (37) But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. (38) This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted: “LORD, who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm?” (39) But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said, (40) “The Lord has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts– so that their eyes cannot see, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and have me heal them.” (41) Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory. (42) Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. (43) For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.

    John tells us, Jesus quoted Isaiah 53. Whenever Jesus quoted scripture he was sending listeners, in this case His disciples back to the chapter – Isaiah 53. What did Jesus want them to see? Key words in Isaiah 53 consist of a few groups. Believed and revealed are the first group found in the first sentence of this prophecy. Can you understand why Jesus quoted only this small section of that prophecy? Do you see how this simple question was pointed at His disciples? Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm? Did those disciples believe Jesus’ message? Did they understand it? Do His disciples today believe this message? Can they feel the emotion? The next set of key words describes the impact this message should have, beautiful and majestic. If you understood the message you would understand the contrast Isaiah put into the prophecy. There was nothing physically beautiful or majestic about Jesus, but His action, life and sacrifice are beyond description.

    The next few sets of keys words is what Jesus wanted His disciples to see.

    Despised, rejected, punishment, oppressed, condemned

    sorrows, grief, weaknesses, troubles, anguish

    pierced, crushed, beaten, whipped, cut, struck

    There are of course other sets of key words, but these overwhelm the prophecy as well as being closely related to one another. Jesus tried to explain this prophecy to prepare His disciples for what was to come. The same pattern is repeated today. It doesn’t make any sense to me. I see the Christian world wrapped up in trying to know the future and claiming to know the future. Many preachers stake their reputations on knowing the future. Today prophecy is an obsession for many Christians. Why did Jesus’ disciples refuse to listen to the one and only Prophet who knew the future and is able to reveal every detail? This tells us a major detail about the time we live in.

    There is more to the prophecy than the fact Jesus wanted His disciples to see its true meaning. Jesus knew exactly what it meant otherwise He never would have brought it up. Put yourself in Jesus’ position. What emotions did He feel when He tried to describe what was about to happen? His human side needed a friend to comfort Him. Jesus needed someone to listen. Not to understand but to listen. To let Him know someone actually cared. Isn’t that what we all look for when we are facing a major life changing trial? We often forget Jesus’ human side. It was much more difficult for Jesus to live His human life than it is for us. Jesus was the only person in this world to know how and when He was going to die. Can you imagine that? And when the time came, no one, not even His closest friends would listen. Jesus took His three closest friends into a garden to pray. After Jesus tried explaining details about what was about to happen, they fell asleep three times. For some reason Peter and the number three crossed paths many times. Look back at that list of key words and tell me how many of those action words did His disciples inflict upon the Son of God. How many do you inflict? How many do religious leaders today inflict upon God’s Son who is conducting the judgment of this world at this very moment? Lack of cooperation does not stop or delay God’s timing.

    No one knows what age Jesus was when He saw this prophecy related to Him. Imagine the feelings He had knowing how He was going to die. There was a sense of gratitude to His Father for revealing it mixed with a sense of anguish. There is no way we can reach the depth of Jesus’ thoughts and emotions. He is God mixed with humanity. Then again, we are created in God’s image. Along with physical attributes, we were also given the emotions God feels including His ability to love. Sin, Satan’s constant suggestions inferring there is a better way, combined with distractions from this world have dulled our senses. To think we have to relearn those basic concepts of feelings, emotions, and love all over again. To reach the level God originally created us we have to learn to recognize things we’ve learned from this world and differentiate them from wisdom God offers from Heaven. It doesn’t seem like an easy thing to do. At times it seems like a battle. But it can be done.

    What did Jesus feel as He walked around with this prophecy on His mind? We can see what drove Jesus to heal, reach out to people, train His disciples with ultimate care, attention, and patients. The world may tell us Jesus worked hard to keep His mind off the fate He had to face. The voice from Heaven tells us Jesus looked forward to His victory, return and ministry in Heaven. To Jesus all those details pointed to victory. This did not stop Satan’s attempts to discourage Jesus. He had to face every test, trial, and temptation Satan could throw at Him. Trials made Jesus seek the company, sympathy, and understanding of humans. Jesus also came to teach this world about God’s real senses, emotions, and love. Part of those emotions is an enormous dislike of suffering. Because it was personal, Jesus had to be careful not to cross the line of fear. Perfect love casts out all fear. But as time drew near, God’s presence was withdrawn from His Son leaving Him to rely on His own senses and what He learned here on earth. Jesus had to rely on His human senses during His greatest trial to prove to the universe, it can be done. God gave everyone on this world everything they needed to overcome temptation.

    That was one of Satan’s accusations against God. Satan accused God of withholding something from the Heavenly host. Satan still uses this deception in this world today. There is a difference between overcoming sin and knowing about sin. God’s Spirit never forces anyone to stop sinning. That has to be a personal choice. On the other hand God’s Spirit does tell people about sin. We’ve become so separated from God, we don’t know the difference between good and bad. Without God’s Spirit influence from this world becomes greater and greater. It can soon take over. Compromising with the world becomes easy. That’s when the difference between right and wrong becomes blurred. After all, those priests who arrested Jesus thought they were doing the right thing even though they ignored a number of God’s law and instructions on trials, witnesses, and of course the prophecies about the Messiah including Isaiah 53.

    How were Jesus’ disciples deceived? Satan used Judas as one of those deceptions. Most people look at only one of Judas’ actions. How did Judas get to that point? We learn another Bible Study lesson called an acted parable when we look at Judas. An acted parable is one event pointing to another. When we see acted parables in the gospels, they are lessons Jesus hoped His disciples would learn from. For us they are lessons waiting to be unlocked.

    When Jesus began His ministry, He first called Peter, John and their brothers. The first place He took them was to a synagogue. Suddenly, a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit began shouting, “Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One sent from God!” (Mark 1:23-24 NLTse). Little do people know how this acted parable pointed to another man possessed by the devil. Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.” He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would later betray him. (John 6:70-71 NLTse). John tells us Jesus knew Judas had a devil in him from the beginning. The devil controlled Judas to an extent. Judas had the choice to ask Jesus to cast out that demon. Like the demon in the synagogue, no one saw the devil walking among them. Jesus’ disciples had no idea Judas was possessed until after he betrayed Jesus and hung himself. There were a lot of details those disciples missed. Having a devil walking among them was one of the reasons the disciples could not understand what Jesus taught.

    Many people agree Judas didn’t intentionally betray Jesus but had his own idea about God’s plan of salvation. Much like the other disciples, Judas still clung onto the interpretations the priests and Pharisees taught. The priests and Pharisees disagreed on the interpretation of many prophecies and doctrines. Jesus’ presence and teaching held disagreements and arguments at bay at least for the most part. Jesus opened their minds to the truth, but old habits were hard to put away. It was harder for some than others. For Judas, his lust for wealth and power proved to be his demise. It wasn’t a temptation that suddenly over whelmed Judas but a weaknesses Satan exploited during Jesus’ entire ministry. The demon in the synagogue worked in a slow methodical way. He introduced doubts in some people, greed in others, misled some on one belief or prophecy, taught them to compromise on one law after another, and always established divisions. The devil in Judas worked the same way. Judas followed Jesus because he saw something in Him. Judas wouldn’t have given up everything to follow Jesus if he hadn’t seen something that attracted him. Every Christian sees something, but like Judas find it difficult to put away parts of the world. Judas saw good in Jesus, he also saw the power and authority he coveted. Judas was stuck on the interpretation of prophecies making the Messiah a conquering hero who would vanquish all of Israel’s enemies in a flash, establish an everlasting kingdom and place His faithful followers in high positions. Judas wanted one of those positions. Judas wanted the highest position. Jesus made Judas treasurer. He was in charge of the small group’s funds. This made Judas feel he won Jesus’ trust. This also made Judas believe he was in the best position to influence Jesus. Judas believed Jesus needed his advice and guidance.

    Jesus’ disciples often talked among themselves when Jesus was off alone praying. His disciples discussed the events and lessons of the day. For the most part they respected one another’s opinion. Each disciple would talk about scripture that came to mind. This was the Spirit’s way of teaching. When this happened, Judas introduced doubts or changed the subject – which interfered with messages the Spirit was trying to secure in their minds. When Judas didn’t agree, he often brought up something the priests of Pharisees asked Jesus and often defended their reason for challenging Jesus. Judas was not about to let go of secret desires and ambitions and felt a need to keep the other disciples in line with his goals. This led the other disciples to concentrate on the old way of thinking, comparing it to what Jesus taught. One devil in the midst of them led to covering up God’s plan of salvation. No matter how Jesus explained God’s simple plan of love, the disciples were misled by one man in their midst. One demon was able to make Jesus’ disciples second guess everything He told them. One person with man made goals and ambitions was able to introduce the an atmosphere of competition up to and including the day Jesus was arrested. To a large degree churches today follow the same course. Christian websites dive for nickles and pennies thrown their way by Internet search engines like children diving for coins. They throw away their dignity and morals for a few pieces of shiny coins like they possess some kind of hypnotic effect. What are they thinking? Are they betraying Jesus or serving Him? The world is full of people like Judas – still believing any form of service will grant them a higher position in His Kingdom.

    John was not the only author to record Judas’ problem. Luke recorded an important and better known detail late in Jesus’ ministry. The leading priests and teachers of religious law were plotting how to kill Jesus, but they were afraid of the people’s reaction. Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, and he went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them. (Luke 22:2-4 NLTse). This is what most people think about when the subject of Judas comes up. They tend to look at it as a sudden change of heart by someone who followed Jesus for more than three years. According to John that was not the case. If we look into John’s comment it wouldn’t be difficult to see Judas had that devil hanging around long before he met Jesus. After all, one of the first steps to becoming a Christian is to get baptized which is a symbolic cleansing of sin. It’s not really a cleansing of sin but the beginning of a journey from the slavery of sin to the promised land. It may seem strange to consider there is no record of the disciples being baptized – not until Pentecost when they were bathed in flames. This is a way of pointing out a disciple is going to face a major trial in their life before clearly seeing exactly what Jesus is trying to teach them.

    Luke recorded a second portion of an acted parable. Remember the first demon cast out in a synagogue? It seems he wasn’t the only demon wandering the halls and worship centers in and around Jerusalem. Those priests didn’t act alone. They had an army of demons pushing them to oppose Jesus at every turn. What was the difference between Judas betraying Jesus and those priests? They all shared ambition and a false image of the Messiah. Notice how the two eventually attracted one another and how they joined forces? Of course Judas and those priests had a different outcome in mind. Both saw Jesus heal thousands of people, raise some from death, Judas saw Jesus feed thousands, and both heard Jesus teach the true image of God. Only Judas believed Jesus, but not in the proper light. Judas believed Jesus had the power to vanquish His enemies any moment He wanted to. All Judas was doing was using the priests to put Jesus in a position He had no choice but to exhibit the power at His disposal. On the other hand the priests dedicated themselves to prove Jesus was just another false Messiah.

    Twice the Bible points us to evidence of demons in synagogues or churches. The first time emphasized the point only the demon knew who Jesus was. We also see that in the second example or lesson. The second added a few other details like the priests who wanted to destroy Jesus. We are also shown pride and the love of wealth and power were behind the door that let the demons in. What does this make you think about some churches today? Doesn’t it seem as if most churches are always suffering financial difficulties? Of course most Christians suffer money problems. Some self induced, others caused by problems inflicted by the world. Financial problems never seem to end. We all want enough money to be comfortable. When we get to that point there never seems to be enough money, or we’re obsessed with thoughts of how to hang onto it. We have to consider the fact Jesus knew Judas stole money from the meager funds they received. But Jesus never said a word about it. Another lesson to learn from the Son of God who didn’t have a penny in His possession was shown when someone asked what He thought about taxes. Did you notice, when Jesus needed a coin one was supplied? That’s God’s way of saying, don’t worry about money. No wonder Isaiah began this prophecy with: “Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm?” And Jesus followed up with “But the people couldn’t believe,” for as Isaiah also said, “The Lord has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts– so that their eyes cannot see, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and have me heal them.” Which brings us to another important phase of Bible Study. When Old Testament scripture is quoted, look it up.

    Isaiah 6:8-10 NLTse Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” (9) And he said, “Yes, go, and say to this people, ‘Listen carefully, but do not understand. Watch closely, but learn nothing.’ (10) Harden the hearts of these people. Plug their ears and shut their eyes. That way, they will not see with their eyes, nor hear with their ears, nor understand with their hearts and turn to me for healing.”

    It sounds like Isaiah is describing Jesus’ disciples. He wasn’t only describing them but the priests and Pharisees who listened to Jesus, questioned Him, saw how His answers were so true and to the point they couldn’t argue with Him, but still couldn’t believe. Then there is another detail in the introduction of Isaiah 6 that fits right into Judas and the priest’s conception of the Messiah. It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. They were calling out to each other, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!” Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke. Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.” (Isaiah 6:1-5 NLTse). To a degree they were right. Jesus could have vanquished their enemies any time He wanted to. But that wasn’t God’s plan or timing. This shows how little they listened to God. Sure they knew about God but had no idea who He really was or any details about the relationship He wanted with them and God wanted them to have with other people. They missed the point. Now it’s time for us to look at the introduction of John 12 and compare it to Isaiah 53 so we get as many of the points God’s Spirit is ready to teach now.

    John 12:1-8 NLTse Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus–the man he had raised from the dead. (2) A dinner was prepared in Jesus‘ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. (3) Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesusfeet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance. (4) But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, (5) “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” (6) Not that he cared for the poor–he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself. (7) Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. (8) You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

    It may seem strange when you first look back at the introduction to see the story about Mary anointing Jesus for His burial, but remember, the introduction establishes the context for the chapter. Later Jesus pointed His disciples to Isaiah 53, the prophecy about what He was about to suffer. That is the common thread between those two stories. They both deal with Jesus’ trial, suffering, crucifixion and death. Mary pointed the minds of the disciples to what was about to happen. That story also filled in a few details about Judas. He didn’t really care about poor people. He stole from them and Jesus. See the connection? When we steal from people we are stealing from Jesus and betraying Him as much as Judas did. We show how we are influenced by demons. We don’t like to say possessed by demons but maybe we can say we accidentally fell for their temptation. What’s the difference? A sin is a sin. Big or small it is disobeying God. Mary was a sinner. The Bible tells us Jesus cast demons out of her. After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons. (Mark 16:9 NLTse). Why was Jesus able to cast seven demons out of Mary but not Judas? This is a personal question we each need to examine alone with God. We all have our own demons. Most of us feel we can control them to one extent or another. That’s what gets us in trouble. Judas knew he was playing with the devil when he went to the priests. He knew he gave into temptation when he took the money. Judas thought Jesus would make everything alright – somehow. Judas’ problem was the same problem he always had. He wanted to accept the interpretations to prophecies that benefited himself. He also acted outside of God’s plan in a way that he thought would benefit himself. It all centered around self. This was evident by the fact he didn’t care for poor people. There is one thing to consider when we compare Mary to Judas. Mary loved Jesus and provided one of the few examples of unconditional love from a human being in the gospels. Another point to think about is, did Mary learn to love Jesus before or after He cast out those demons? This is another personal question to talk to God about especially when we consider one of the lines in Isaiah’s introduction. My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.

    Jesus doesn’t try to attract us with shiny trinkets and shallow compliments. Jesus doesn’t play the, “they will love me if I give them this or that game.” Jesus doesn’t act like the mother in the grocery checkout line with the spoiled kids making a scene when they pass the candy rack. That mother thinks she can buy love but what is she really getting for her money? What is she really doing with her money? Most of the time all she is doing is spoiling her children and setting the wrong example. No wonder Jesus quoted this prophecy when He was teaching about seeing and knowing the light He brought into this world, then seeing the difference between His light and darkness. A lot of people have trouble understanding the difference between right and wrong. Like Judas we think we are doing the right thing but in the end wind up regretting our actions. This is the main reason we have to learn to have a personal relationship with God, a subject Jesus explains in the summation to John 12.

    John 12:44-50 NLTse Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. (45) For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. (46) I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. (47) I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. (48) But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. (49) I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. (50) And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”

    Is Jesus showing His relationship with His Father, showing the relationship we have open to God, or both? Whenever we study the Bible we have to remember there is always more than one side to the lesson. When we let God’s Spirit lead us, we see more of those details. “For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me.” Pause for a moment and think about how you view Jesus. Then think about how you view God. Think of how you view Heaven. Think of how you pray to God. Do you wait for answers? Listening skills have to be honed. Think of all the ways God communicates and how you can improve each one. Keep in mind God’s answer may not always be something you expect or agree with. “He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave. But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief.” Jesus didn’t get the answer He wanted to hear when He prayed in the garden. But Jesus accepted God’s plan. A lesson for us to learn. “He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s good plan will prosper in his hands.” But God’s plan is always best for us and others. “I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.” Based on Jesus’ comment it shouldn’t be difficult to see God’s message and plan. The darker it is the easier it is to see the light. After we see that light it is still up to us to accept, reject, or like Judas, try to modify God’s plan. In the long run everything Judas did worked out in God’s plan but at what cost? Could Judas have been saved? That’s a question we’ll have to ask in Heaven. Maybe God will show us how it would have turned out if Judas listened to Jesus and followed His instructions.

    The major point I see in this study is Isaiah’s opening line compared to Jesus’ response in the fulfillment. “Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm? Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.” Based on the prophecy, and while observing His disciples, Jesus knew they had trouble listening and understanding. As Jesus’ disciples today we still have that problem. Today we have the examples in the introduction of John 12 as well as other examples and contrasts in the gospels to learn from. We have the opportunity to look back at those lessons recorded. What a contrast between that unconditional love Mary showed and the greed displayed by Judas. Look at the results. Judas hung himself. Mary was the first person to see Jesus after He rose from that tomb. What a difference listening to God’s Spirit can make. Mary listened. She didn’t understand but she followed orders. Judas had the chance to hear God’s Spirit as much as Mary did. One listened and obeyed. The other decided to do things they’re way. We all face that choice just about every day.

    We didn’t get into the details of this prophecy about how Jesus was tried, beaten, condemned, and executed. That would add pages to this study because each of those relate to so many other texts in the New Testament. Instead we used one of the chapters the opening line of this prophecy was quoted in. We also compared introductions and summations. As a result we saw how the lessons and contrasts showed more details than we could have imagined. The main concept to remember when studying other portions of this prophecy is to remember how to check context. When you do, you will see details most people miss. Of course there are other chapters in the New Testament this prophecy points to. I’ve included a few you can study on your own. May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. (2 Peter 1:2-4 NLTse).

    Romans 10:11-21 NLTse As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” (12) Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. (13) For “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” (14) But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? (15) And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” (16) But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “LORD, who has believed our message?” (17) So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. (18) But I ask, have the people of Israel actually heard the message? Yes, they have: “The message has gone throughout the earth, and the words to all the world.” (19) But I ask, did the people of Israel really understand? Yes, they did, for even in the time of Moses, God said, “I will rouse your jealousy through people who are not even a nation. I will provoke your anger through the foolish Gentiles.” (20) And later Isaiah spoke boldly for God, saying, “I was found by people who were not looking for me. I showed myself to those who were not asking for me.” (21) But regarding Israel, God said, “All day long I opened my arms to them, but they were disobedient and rebellious.”

    Acts 8:31-35 NLTse The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him. (32) The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter. And as a lamb is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. (33) He was humiliated and received no justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.” (34) The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?” (35) So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus.

    1 Peter 2:21-25 NLTse For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. (22) He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. (23) He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. (24) He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. (25) Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.

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Isaiah 11:1-10 The Spirit of the Lord Will Rest on Him

Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 16, 2016


  • Isaiah 11:1-10 The Spirit of the Lord Will Rest on Him

    Isaiah 11:1-10 NLTse Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot— yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. (2) And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on him– the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. (3) He will delight in obeying the LORD. He will not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay. (4) He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited. The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked. (5) He will wear righteousness like a belt and truth like an undergarment. (6) In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. (7) The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. (8) The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm. (9) Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the LORD. (10) In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place.

    At first glance, finding a single chapter to explain how this prophecy was, or is going to be fulfilled seems like an impossible task. And it is – for any of us as individuals. Remember what I told you about the process we need to follow to understand God’s prophecies and timing?

    Highlight the key words.

    Pray and listen.

    Come on now, this is a simple process all of us should be used to using. The more you practice those simple methods the more you’ll see and understand in God’s Word. The more you’ll also see and understand in the world. You’ll begin to see more about this world than you’ve ever imagined. You’ll understand why Jesus tried so hard to get His disciples to see and understand the difference between Heaven and earth.

    To me this prophecy seemed to span a time line covered in the Bible from the beginning of the Gospels to the end of Revelation. After all that’s the way I’ve heard the world teach it and how I accepted their teaching. I thought they understood. After praying about this prophecy and how it was and is being fulfilled, and how it is being ignored, this has turned out to be one of the most exciting prophecies I’ve had the privilege of understanding and writing about. Let’s start at the very beginning.

    You need the ability to see the tense – if it is past, present, or future. This is where Bible Study requires special attention on simple unrepeated words. “The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:4 NLTse). Here is where we learn a new lesson on looking at simple words that open up the spiritual meaning of texts. Carefully examine the first verse in Isaiah 11. Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot— yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. Notice how Isaiah says a shoot will grow which places this chapter’s tense in the future. Isaiah also called that shoot a new branch, and tells us that branch will bear fruit from the old root. Isaiah is telling about a transition. It’s not difficult to clearly identify those symbols. “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne. I am the bright morning star.” (Revelation 22:16 NLTse). Now it’s just a matter of placing them on the correct point in this world’s time line. The next few verses will help. And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. He will delight in obeying the LORD. He will not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay. Once again Isaiah made it a point of repeating the word, “will,” a number of times to show this is a prophecy in the future from Isaiah’s perspective. Since the shoot will grow, this places the prophecy somewhere on the the earth’s time line when Jesus was learning and growing. The fact He will not judge by appearance places this prophecy on a time line before Jesus entered the Heavenly Sanctuary to begin the judgment of the world. The phrase, “nor make a decision based on hearsay,” placed this prophecy at a time when Jesus is in competition with hearsay or preconceived traditions and doctrines. Using the key words in this prophecy to search for an explanation of its fulfillment, we’re led to only a few possible connections. The introduction and summation of Romans 15 best reflects the spiritual lessons Isaiah provided in His prophecy.

    Romans 15:12-21 NLTse And in another place Isaiah said, “The heir to David’s throne will come, and he will rule over the Gentiles. They will place their hope on him.” (13) I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (14) I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them. (15) Even so, I have been bold enough to write about some of these points, knowing that all you need is this reminder. For by God’s grace, (16) I am a special messenger from Christ Jesus to you Gentiles. I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit. (17) So I have reason to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me in my service to God. (18) Yet I dare not boast about anything except what Christ has done through me, bringing the Gentiles to God by my message and by the way I worked among them. (19) They were convinced by the power of miraculous signs and wonders and by the power of God’s Spirit. In this way, I have fully presented the Good News of Christ from Jerusalem all the way to Illyricum. (20) My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else. (21) I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures, where it says, “Those who have never been told about him will see, and those who have never heard of him will understand.”

    Since we see a reference to Isaiah 11 in Roman’s 15, it seems this would be the easiest chapter to compare and study. Based on the translation I’m using, it is difficult to see the connection. In this case looking at another translation will help. And again, Isaiah says, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. (Romans 15:12 KJ2000). You’ll notice Paul decided to add the word Gentile when He quoted Isaiah 11. It’s not clear if Paul actually quoted verse 1 or 10. In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place. At any rate, Paul is explaining that the prophecy in Isaiah 11 is being fulfilled.

    Paul clearly explains Isaiah’s prophecy in chapter 11 is fulfilled by taking the GOOD NEWS to the Gentiles. Notice how much respect was given to the Good News when translators capitalized Good News? By doing so they placed the Good News on a level with God and His Son. That’s how important the message used to be. It’s sad to think how the world has forgotten so much of that message. The message that for a time changed the world. That is the section of time line we are pointed to in this study.

    Paul also quotes another scripture. Our study would never be complete until we located and examined scripture Paul quoted. And he will startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence. For they will see what they had not been told; they will understand what they had not heard about. (Isaiah 52:15 NLTse). Paul has an unusual style of writing. Some people insist Paul jumps from subject to subject. But, if you knew Paul, you would know he does not stray from one subject to another but stayed on course so people would understand his message. Time and time again Paul gave all the credit and glory to God for the messages he received and delivered. Paul is teaching us to do the same. Number one, Paul showed us how to approach God’s throne and receive our messages only from God. Number two, Paul showed us not to reply on ourselves or others for any message. Number three, Paul showed us how God’s message will always be backed up by His Word. Paul also showed us how God’s message is spread throughout His Word, one scripture reinforcing and explaining another. In this case Paul taught the simple lesson while adding to the lessons we’ve been learning while studying Isaiah. Paul is about to show us how Isaiah’s book is arranged to look backward and forward in his book to understand how a lesson is introduced, then further explained in later chapters.

    Based on the words Paul repeated, his main theme is the Good News about Christ. Do we get that message when we read the verse Paul quoted? And he will startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence. For they will see what they had not been told; they will understand what they had not heard about. (Isaiah 52:15 NLTse). Paul provided very little evidence on who this scripture is pointing to based on the verse he quoted. What Paul actually did was point us back to a series of texts he wants us to see and study. By doing so, Paul is accomplishing what he was taught to do, place us in the capable hands of God’s Spirit. Look at the previous verse in Isaiah 52. But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man. (Isaiah 52:14 NLTse). Now we know the verse Paul quoted points us back to Jesus. This also defines the Good News which has always been and will always be about Christ. Paul wanted everyone to review the entire scripture he quoted so they would see more of the message. The chapter Paul sent us to also defined the portion of time line Isaiah prophesied about. “What is this?” asks the LORD. “Why are my people enslaved again? Those who rule them shout in exultation. My name is blasphemed all day long. But I will reveal my name to my people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that I am the one who speaks to them.” (Isaiah 52:5-6 NLTse)

    Of course some people will argue with placing Isaiah’s prophecy at Paul’s ministry on this world’s time line. Some people will insist this prophecy should be placed on a time line in Heaven based on a few verses. “In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra.” Some people with their last breath will insist those verses place this prophecy in Isaiah past any point on earth’s time line. But does their interpretation follow basic Bible Study rules? The fulfillment is always greater than the symbol. Is Isaiah using a wolf, lamb, leopard, goat, calf, lion, cow, bear, cub, calf, baby, and cobra as physical animals pointing only to physical animals? Or is Isaiah using symbols in this prophecy to point to a greater fulfillment? We can only answer that question by letting God’s Spirit provide evidence in His Word. The process is simple. All we need to do is compare the introductions and summations to see if Roman’s 15 is really the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 11. Since the prophecy is the introduction to Isaiah 11, we have to compare the introduction to Roman’s 15 to the prophecy. This is placing Paul’s introduction on trial so to speak to see if it follows God’s rules of Bible Study.

    Romans 15:1-11 NLTse We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. (2) We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. (3) For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.” (4) Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. (5) May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. (6) Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (7) Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. (8) Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. (9) He also came so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for his mercies to them. That is what the psalmist meant when he wrote: “For this, I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing praises to your name.” (10) And in another place it is written, “Rejoice with his people, you Gentiles.” (11) And yet again, “Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles. Praise him, all you people of the earth.”

    Paul begins not by reminding, but commanding that Jesus’ followers be considerate of people sensitive to what he is about to write about. Paul gets right to the point. People need to think more about others than themselves. To emphasize his point, Paul quoted another scripture. What did Paul want us to see? Those who hate me without cause outnumber the hairs on my head. Many enemies try to destroy me with lies, demanding that I give back what I didn’t steal. O God, you know how foolish I am; my sins cannot be hidden from you. Don’t let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me, O Sovereign LORD of Heaven’s Armies. Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated, O God of Israel. For I endure insults for your sake; humiliation is written all over my face. Even my own brothers pretend they don’t know me; they treat me like a stranger. Passion for your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me. When I weep and fast, they scoff at me. When I dress in burlap to show sorrow, they make fun of me. I am the favorite topic of town gossip, and all the drunks sing about me. But I keep praying to you, LORD, hoping this time you will show me favor. In your unfailing love, O God, answer my prayer with your sure salvation. Rescue me from the mud; don’t let me sink any deeper! Save me from those who hate me, and pull me from these deep waters. Don’t let the floods overwhelm me, or the deep waters swallow me, or the pit of death devour me. Answer my prayers, O LORD, for your unfailing love is wonderful. Take care of me, for your mercy is so plentiful. (Psalms 69:4-16 NLTse). This prayer from David also points to Christ who suffered the deep waters and was hated without a cause. Still Jesus prayed for them. In His prayers God’s Spirit showed Jesus how to reach out to people who opposed Him. Jesus reached out to Roman soldiers, people in powerful government positions as well as religious leaders. Jesus also reached out to Greeks, Samaritans, as well as people from all nationalities. This is why Paul tells us to, ” live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.”

    Pay attention to Paul’s introduction where he tells us to accept as well as help one another. Paul doesn’t mean only supporting and accepting people like yourself. Paul repeated the word Gentile a number of times to show us he is referring to accepting people far different than yourself. Once again Paul sends us back to scripture. For this, O LORD, I will praise you among the nations; I will sing praises to your name. You give great victories to your king; you show unfailing love to your anointed, to David and all his descendants forever. (Psalms 18:49-50 NLTse). Of course David’s prayer points to more than himself. All his descendants points to Jesus. What is that great victory? To explain Paul takes us to another verse. Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth! Sing about the glory of his name! Tell the world how glorious he is. Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! Your enemies cringe before your mighty power. Everything on earth will worship you; they will sing your praises, shouting your name in glorious songs.” Come and see what our God has done, what awesome miracles he performs for people! He made a dry path through the Red Sea, and his people went across on foot. There we rejoiced in him. For by his great power he rules forever. He watches every movement of the nations; let no rebel rise in defiance. Let the whole world bless our God and loudly sing his praises. Our lives are in his hands, and he keeps our feet from stumbling. (Psalms 66:1-9 NLTse).

    Paul wanted us to see God’s promises so we’re able to encourage others. If we don’t learn those lessons how are we supposed to accurately share them? The best way we can move people to Jesus is to be close to Him ourselves. Take a look at the prophecies in Psalm 118 and the other chapters. They all tell a little piece about Jesus.

    Imagine what was going through Paul’s mind when he wrote the letter to the Romans or when Paul spent time learning about Jesus in God’s Word. Paul saw so many details he could have been writing about them two thousand years later and never finished. Paul knew his words would never be adequate to tell the full story. So Paul did the next best thing. He sends us back to scripture under the guidance of God’s Spirit. Being a good teacher, Paul wanted people to go further than he was able to reach, learn more than he learned, and accomplish more than he was able to accomplish. Paul knew he was only part of the beginning. Paul also wanted to convey the methods he used to learn, so he did what he needed to do, what we need to learn to do, send people back to God’s Word. It takes more than sending people back to random texts. They have to be the right texts dealing with the same lesson within the same context. Learn from Paul’s example and don’t stop at the few verses I’ve added here. Review the entire chapters and see how much more they add.

    Paul’s introduction shows how Jesus is the new growth Isaiah referred to in the introduction for the prophecy in chapter 11. Pay particular attention to the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. This is also a major point Paul is conveying in the introduction in Romans 15. Many people won’t see that because they rely on memory, and don’t want to spend time to look at the verses Paul referred to. Or people convince themselves they can reply on their own understanding. Those people have missed the message in the Good News and may never catch onto it. They don’t understand Jesus, “also came so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for his mercies to them.” This is also the main point in both the summations.

    Isaiah 11:11-16 NLTse In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to bring back the remnant of his people– those who remain in Assyria and northern Egypt; in southern Egypt, Ethiopia, and Elam; in Babylonia, Hamath, and all the distant coastlands. (12) He will raise a flag among the nations and assemble the exiles of Israel. He will gather the scattered people of Judah from the ends of the earth. (13) Then at last the jealousy between Israel and Judah will end. They will not be rivals anymore. (14) They will join forces to swoop down on Philistia to the west. Together they will attack and plunder the nations to the east. They will occupy the lands of Edom and Moab, and Ammon will obey them. (15) The LORD will make a dry path through the gulf of the Red Sea. He will wave his hand over the Euphrates River, sending a mighty wind to divide it into seven streams so it can easily be crossed on foot. (16) He will make a highway for the remnant of his people, the remnant coming from Assyria, just as he did for Israel long ago when they returned from Egypt.

    Since the rest of Isaiah consisted of symbols, we must also consider the countries mentioned in the summations as symbols. You’ll notice both summations contain countries. Not only does this show a relationship and common theme but explains how far it extends. Look at how Paul quoted scripture by substituting Gentile for world and earth. Paul wanted to emphasize the personal nature of the job and message. What good is having a message if it’s not delivered to people? The message goes from the lips to the ears. David and Isaiah often tell about how victories will be witnessed over our enemies. Jesus said If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also.(Luke 6:29 NLTse). We can’t forgot lips are between those cheeks. If someone strikes at you because of your beliefs, accept it. If you do respond, make sure it’s with God’s Words and not your own. If God can heal the differences between Israel and Judah who warred against one another for hundreds of year, God can heal anything.

    This may be a good time to take another look at one of the spiritual meanings for Assyria. As we’ve already seen, symbols can have a number of spiritual meanings. “This message is for King Hezekiah of Judah. Don’t let your God, in whom you trust, deceive you with promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria. You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different? Have the gods of other nations rescued them–such nations as Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar? My predecessors destroyed them all! (Isaiah 37:10-12 NLTse). In this explanation we see Assyria’s leaders actually believe they have the power to defeat every other country and their god’s. Assyria acts like it’s their role in this world to conquer it and put down all the other gods and beliefs. This also included God the Creator.

    It was more than a war fought on battle fields between Israel and Judah. They fought over religious differences. They surrounded cities and starved entire populations to a slow death. As food ran out people turned to whatever was available to eat. Insects, grass, wood, horses, donkeys, dogs, cats, rats, mice, and even other people were eaten. Battle sieges were meant to strip people of every shred of dignity. During attacks no life was spared. Men, women and children were all slain. Some just to entertain the troops. Women were forced to submit to the most degrading treatment by the conquering army before facing imminent death at the hands of their abusers. The wars were so brutal, a quick death was often preferred. The few survivors were filled with so much hate, the thought of revenge often drove them to near insanity. War is a platform where Satan and his agents thrive and seem to rule. They fill their victims with thoughts, hatred, and bigotry almost impossible to over come. Paul used to be driven by a nature close to that learned from war and God was able to call him back. Jesus changed Paul by opening his eyes to the truth about scripture.

    Romans 15:22-33 NLTse In fact, my visit to you has been delayed so long because I have been preaching in these places. (23) But now I have finished my work in these regions, and after all these long years of waiting, I am eager to visit you. (24) I am planning to go to Spain, and when I do, I will stop off in Rome. And after I have enjoyed your fellowship for a little while, you can provide for my journey. (25) But before I come, I must go to Jerusalem to take a gift to the believers there. (26) For you see, the believers in Macedonia and Achaia have eagerly taken up an offering for the poor among the believers in Jerusalem. (27) They were glad to do this because they feel they owe a real debt to them. Since the Gentiles received the spiritual blessings of the Good News from the believers in Jerusalem, they feel the least they can do in return is to help them financially. (28) As soon as I have delivered this money and completed this good deed of theirs, I will come to see you on my way to Spain. (29) And I am sure that when I come, Christ will richly bless our time together. (30) Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit. (31) Pray that I will be rescued from those in Judea who refuse to obey God. Pray also that the believers there will be willing to accept the donation I am taking to Jerusalem. (32) Then, by the will of God, I will be able to come to you with a joyful heart, and we will be an encouragement to each other. (33) And now may God, who gives us his peace, be with you all. Amen.

    Paul dedicated his life to serving Jesus. Like Joseph, who gave up his carrier and ambitions in the temple when he buried Jesus’ body, Paul took up the challenge when Jesus met him on the road to Damascus. Strange as it may seem, Paul met Jesus on his way to Damascus to arrest and execute Jesus’ followers. Later Paul traveled not only to Syria but other parts of the world to tell people the truth about Jesus. Paul also points out it’s not only his job. “The Gentiles received the spiritual blessings of the Good News from the believers in Jerusalem.” Paul’s mission was to make more disciples for Jesus so they could learn the way he did.

    What do the countries listed in Isaiah represent? What about the countries Paul listed? Are they also symbols? We’ve looked at what some of those countries can represent and have seen their spiritual definition always relies on context. When we look at the context of Isaiah’s prophecy it’s easy to see he is pointing to Jesus and His ministry in this world. Since the prophecy leads us to Romans 15, the fulfillment is found in Jesus’ disciples. Paul also included Jesus’ followers. How far and wide does the interpretation extend and how does it relate to us today?

    Christianity has extended all around the world. Every religion has heard about and knows something about Christianity. But what kind of an impression are Christians leaving on the people their supposed to be reaching out to? Many religious leaders point out fighting and bickering between Christian denominations and it does exist. No one can deny some of the fieriest war of words is between Christian denominations. Many pastors make a lucrative living writing books and conducting seminars having nothing to do with teaching the Good News Paul showed in scripture, and pointed us back to the Old Testament with hundreds of examples. No! Many pastors make a living from pointing out differences between denominations. Many are paid by church conferences to write those books and preach their message of separation. Why? To increase membership in their own church?

    Look what happened to David when he counted Israel. God was not happy. To set an example the whole nation had to suffer. But who wants to pay attention to a lesson thousands of people had to die for? The example Solomon set when he numbered Israel taught another phase of that lesson. Solomon numbered Israel so he could enlist slave labor to build his temple, palace, home, and homes for his one thousand wives and their children. So why do churches send millions of dollars to count membership and conceive ways of increasing membership? Why do churches pay people to invent new systems, rules, and regulations for their membership? Where do they learn such lessons from? Why isn’t the money spent to teach people how to gain a closer relationship with Jesus, learn to listen to His Word, and read and study God’s Word? Why do churches think they have the right to read and interpret God’s Word? That’s not what Paul taught.

    When we compare the countries listed in Isaiah and Romans and compare it to the animals listed in the introduction in Isaiah 11 we see an interesting relationship. The animals as well as the countries were sworn enemies based on their normal earthy habits. If we look at the animals named we may see another clue. Three of them, the leopard, bear, and lion are also mentioned in Revelation as well as Daniel. This beast looked like a leopard, but it had the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion! And the dragon gave the beast his own power and throne and great authority. (Revelation 13:2 NLTse).

    I find it kind of strange how some denominations have identified their competition as the beast in Revelation 13. No wonder why those churches want people to consider only the physical aspects of some prophecies. No wonder why most religions are dead set against teaching members how to study even though Paul made that message his life work.

    I used to belong to a church that claimed to be the only remnant church. Most of the members pledged themselves to the prophecies they were taught, and ruthlessly defended them at all costs. It seemed to me their process of interpreting prophecies was flawed. I found the church at times had dozens of different interpretations to some of those prophecies a generation ago. But somewhere a group got together and decided they needed to agree one a single interpretation for each prophecy. They should have learned from the past when they guessed at an interpretation and God showed their most educated guess was wrong. But being only human they thought they learned their lesson and the next generation let pride overrun common sense. Finally their pride pushed me as well as others out.

    Based on personal experience I ran into a lot of opposition to thinking and studying on my own. Leaders in the church insisted only a few qualified people should read and interpret God’s Word. They never wanted to answer questions about Hebrews 10 and other chapters promising a personal relationship as well as direct communication with God. It finally tipped the scales and I had no choice but to leave. While facing a divorce elders and members in the church insisted I tell my part of the story. They heard part of the story from my ex-wife, but their need for gossip drove them on. They insisted since they were leaders in the church, they had a right to ask for details and insisted they were more qualified to counsel than the small support group God surrounded me with. They didn’t think I had the right to take my burdens directly to Jesus and let Him take them from me. Some of those church leader believed people had to go through them for guidance, counsel, and relief from the burdens they carried. That was too much for me. I was going no where with them and I certainly didn’t need them dredging up old wounds. I didn’t see a feasible form of guidance in them, so I left.

    It’s not just the church I attended. I’ve seen this in other churches from different denominations. I’ve seen church’s fundamental beliefs so detailed they condemn other denominations. I’ve listened to preachers discredit one denomination after another until God led me in another direction. Since that time I’ve studied with pastors and members from a number of churches. When we get together we don’t discuss politics or doctrines. We concentrate on learning about Jesus and allowing God’s Word to reveal itself. You know, we have similar stories on how we were saved, how God reached out to us, and how God’s Spirit used us to reach out to others. The fact of the matter is, when we know enough about Jesus to be able to put away little differences, there is so much we can learn from one another. There is also an important example we can set for our community as well as the world.

    God never intended for His followers to be divided like they are today. At times I wonder if some religions fit the description of Assyria better than they follow Jesus’ the example. Some churches want to go around conquering the world putting down other Christian churches as if they serve another god. They know little about that church and nothing about its people, but insist, if they don’t join with them by accepting all their doctrines as gospel, the persecuting church is happy to camp outside the gates, write letters, and scream as loud as they can expecting everyone inside to give up.

    I see another thing happening. Every time a few people from different denominations get together a few churches begin crying one of their beloved prophecies is being fulfilled. They really can’t point to a specific prophecy that gives a clear definition, but they separate out a few choice verses then claim they are the only people who can understand because their God’s chosen church. Well I can only say, show me the context you are using to claim God wanted to separate your church from the world and NOT reach out to it like Paul describes in Romans 15, as well as other chapters in his books. If Isaiah’s prophecies tell us God will bring together countries warring against one another for generations, why do religious leaders claim it is impossible for God to unit people following His Son?

    Isaiah stood before kings as an individual calling for and promising a unity no one could imagine or understand. Isaiah never represented a church, he represented God. Isaiah spoke and recorded words God gave him. Paul didn’t represent an organized church. Often times Paul disagreed with the organized church and their leaders. During much of his ministry Paul stuck out on his own being led by God’s Spirit and traveling with only one other member. When God brings people together it will be through individual efforts, not through organized churches. Look at Solomon’s example. Solomon was the wisest man the world has known, But did he use the wisdom God gave him? Instead of waiting on God’s Word and direction, he decided to marry hundreds of women to bring unity and peace to his kingdom. Solomon also built a stone temple to strengthen that unity. Instead of waiting for God’s direction, Solomon went to Tyre and asked for help. Solomon trusted in the riches of Tyre instead of His creator, the One who gave him wisdom. Don’t wait for religious leaders to say it’s time to unite or come up with a plan. God already has a plan and a time. Listen to God and learn from the greatest source of wisdom in the universe and the only One who knows all the details of His plan.

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Psalms 118:14-27 The Stone the Builders Rejected

Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 16, 2016


  • Psalms 118:14-27 The Stone the Builders Rejected

    Psalms 118:14-27 NLTse The LORD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. (15) Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly. The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things! (16) The strong right arm of the LORD is raised in triumph. The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things! (17) I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the LORD has done. (18) The LORD has punished me severely, but he did not let me die. (19) Open for me the gates where the righteous enter, and I will go in and thank the LORD. (20) These gates lead to the presence of the LORD, and the godly enter there. (21) I thank you for answering my prayer and giving me victory! (22) The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. (23) This is the LORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see. (24) This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. (25) Please, LORD, please save us. Please, LORD, please give us success. (26) Bless the one who comes in the name of the LORD. We bless you from the house of the LORD. (27) The LORD is God, shining upon us. Take the sacrifice and bind it with cords on the altar.

    The obvious prophecy in Psalm 118 is, The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see. This is a verse Jesus quoted, one we’ve studied before. As we know, when God repeats Himself it’s time to pay attention.

    Looking at the introduction to Psalm 118 it’s easy to see why we need to pay attention. This prophecy is a song of victory. The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things! What are those glorious things? Have we been looking close enough to see them?

    The LORD has punished me severely, but he did not let me die. This obviously points to Jesus, and in a spiritual sense points to us who read His Word and take it lightly. Once we study the fulfillment we’ll understand how we actually suffer when we don’t dig deep enough, pray long enough, and listen hard enough to everything God’s Spirit wants to reveal.

    It’s time we enter into God’s presence and listen, Open for me the gates where the righteous enter, and I will go in and thank the LORD. These gates lead to the presence of the LORD, and the godly enter there. This points us to the fundamental rule of Bible Study where we rely on God’s Spirit to reveal the lessons.

    The Lord will reveal everything we need to understand about His prophecies and their fulfillment. I thank you for answering my prayer and giving me victory! Bless the one who comes in the name of the LORD. We bless you from the house of the LORD. Notice how the blessing comes from the House of the LORD! It doesn’t come from human understanding, science, or religion. The blessing comes directly from God, from His House! This prophecy is quoted by Jesus in three gospels, but we’ll concentrate on one of these and look at the symbolism used. The symbolism Jesus wanted them to see. The summation in Mark 12 tells us how simple it is to understand and how little God asks of us.

    Mark 12:1-12 NLTse Then Jesus began teaching them with stories: “A man planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. (2) At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. (3) But the farmers grabbed the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. (4) The owner then sent another servant, but they insulted him and beat him over the head. (5) The next servant he sent was killed. Others he sent were either beaten or killed, (6) until there was only one left–his son whom he loved dearly. The owner finally sent him, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’ (7) “But the tenant farmers said to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ (8) So they grabbed him and murdered him and threw his body out of the vineyard. (9) “What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do?” Jesus asked. “I’ll tell you–he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others. (10) Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. (11) This is the LORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.‘” (12) The religious leaders wanted to arrest Jesus because they realized he was telling the story against them–they were the wicked farmers. But they were afraid of the crowd, so they left him and went away.

    Most people know Jesus used symbols to illustrate important points in His parables. This parable is no exception. There are a few ways we can find the spiritual meaning of those symbols. We can do a simple key word search. We can look up other texts using the key word until we understand the spiritual meaning. Although this is a good method, it often leads to many paths which increase the chances of getting lost by using the wrong spiritual meaning. Most key words have more than one spiritual meaning. That’s why context is important. Here we use context of more than one chapter to understand its spiritual meaning by comparing the entire chapter of the prophecies to their fulfillment. It’s like a combination lock. A combination lock using one digit is not secure at all. A lock using two digits is not as secure as a lock using four or five tumblers. Keep this in mind when you read or listen to people teach scripture. Using one proof text is not safe at all.

    The key word vineyard is a simple word to explain in spiritual terms. The nation of Israel is the vineyard of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. The people of Judah are his pleasant garden. He expected a crop of justice, but instead he found oppression. He expected to find righteousness, but instead he heard cries of violence. (Isaiah 5:7 NLTse).

    Although it seems Isaiah summed up the meaning of the spiritual vineyard in Jesus’ parable, this doesn’t tell the full story. So far with one verse we see the vineyard represents the nation of Israel and the garden is the people of Judah. This includes the two southern tribes and ten northern tribes. Now we can assume…. but wait — why should WE assume anything? The prophecy tells us to enter into God’s gates where the righteous enter to bless you from the house of the LORD! Why would we come only so far then turn away to our own understanding? We need to look to God’s Word further, enter into His House and listen harder.

    “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:1-2, 5 NLTse).

    By looking at a few more verses we learn a lot more. We see the Father is the gardener. This also explains the man who built the vineyard is God. We also see another vital point when we compare all the details in the parable. Now that we understand Jesus’ Father is the gardener, we know the son in the parable represents Jesus. Looking at John chapter 15 we also see the vine in the vineyard represents Jesus. This adds a new view to the parable. The farmers thought they could secure the vineyard for themselves by killing the SON. What they didn’t see was the SON was in the center of the vineyard all along.

    Look at this from the context in John 15. “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. (John 15:9-14 NLTse).

    Jesus didn’t come to this world to introduce God’s love. He came to reveal it! This also points us to the spiritual meaning of another key word, wall. In that day, everyone in the land of Judah will sing this song: Our city is strong! We are surrounded by the walls of God’s salvation. Open the gates to all who are righteous; allow the faithful to enter. I will give them–within the walls of my house– a memorial and a name far greater than sons and daughters could give. For the name I give them is an everlasting one. It will never disappear! “I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the LORD, who serve him and love his name, who worship him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest, and who hold fast to my covenant. (Isaiah 26:1-2, 56:5-6 NLTse).

    One verse tells us a wall can represent salvation. Another verse shows us there is a condition to enter into those walls. We have to remain committed to serving and loving God by holding fast to His covenant. This is where the farmers went wrong. Of course the farmers are identified in each of the gospels this parable is found. The religious leaders wanted to arrest Jesus because they realized he was telling the story against them–they were the wicked farmers. That’s one of the mistakes the religious leaders made. They didn’t know God’s law was a covenant.

    The religious leaders thought they were specially gifted. They thought they were above the law. They forgot they were supposed to be a light onto the law by keeping parts of the law centered on their duty as priests. Moses told them to help the poor, the neglected people, widows, orphans, strangers, and foreigners. Priests were held to a higher standard. They didn’t receive land. In exchange for land, they were free from everyday toil. People brought them gifts and offerings they were responsible for sharing. God could have blessed them more and more as they taught people how to live together in peace by honoring God’s law. The more the people were blessed, the more the priests would receive, the more they could work to end poverty in Israel and God’s law would be a light upon all nations who would come to them to learn the secret of their success.

    They also lost sight of God’s original plan. They claimed to be descendants of Abraham. In Abraham’s day the head of the household was the priest. This was handed down from father to the first born son. The father as priest of the home turned the hearts of the sons onto God. The role of priest of the home was restored to the fathers at the first Passover before leaving Egypt. Later God revealed His plan to make Israel a kingdom of priests. Once they turned down the chance to become a nation to take God’s law and light into the world, God choose Aaron as His high priest and the tribe of Levites as His first born son and servants.

    The priests looked at only a small portion of the story. In their eyes the tribe of Levi was chosen because they didn’t take part in the worship of the golden calf when Moses was on the mountain receiving God’s commandment. They thought this placed them above the other tribes. They looked at what the Levites did and assumed that was their role as priests. So he stood at the entrance to the camp and shouted, “All of you who are on the LORD’s side, come here and join me.” And all the Levites gathered around him. Moses told them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Each of you, take your swords and go back and forth from one end of the camp to the other. Kill everyone–even your brothers, friends, and neighbors.” The Levites obeyed Moses’ command, and about 3,000 people died that day. Then Moses told the Levites, “Today you have ordained yourselves for the service of the LORD, for you obeyed him even though it meant killing your own sons and brothers. Today you have earned a blessing.” (Exodus 32:26-29 NLTse).

    This shows how dangerous it is to take one text and assume it tells the full story. Did they forget it was Aaron, the first high priest who made the calf? They forgot a lot of details. This method of picking and choosing particular texts to produce an assumption is dangerous and only leads to destruction.

    We see the same mistakes repeated today. Religious leaders want to take up swords against anyone who doesn’t believe exactly what they believe. Over the past few weeks I’ve seen a video drifting all over the Internet. A pastor took it upon himself to attack other churches. He claims to keep one of God’s commandments above all else and that gives him the right to manipulate or side track other commandments. He doesn’t view his actions as breaking commandments, but twisting the truth is a lie. Keeping one commandment never allows anyone the right to break a number of other commandments no matter how justified the assumptions are. Sure this pastor feels he is leading a worthy cause, but at what cost? His first mistake was delivering a message before praying. Where God is opening windows to pour out a blessing, he is slamming doors shut.

    The servants in the parable are another easy symbol to define. At the usual time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all this at your command. The LORD said through his servants the prophets: They refuse to listen to me, though I have spoken to them repeatedly through the prophets I sent. And you who are in exile have not listened either,” says the LORD. (1 Kings 18:36, 2 Kings 21:10, Jeremiah 29:19 NLTse).

    The servants in the parable represent God’s prophets who they killed. It wasn’t unusual for kings and priests to ignore God’s prophets. Elijah had to stand up to 400 prophets of Baal appointed by king Ahab’s wife Jezebel. No one helped Elijah with the twelve heavy stones he moved to erect the alter. The people stood by and watched Elijah struggle. They didn’t want to make a public stand until after God sent down fire to consume the sacrifice. Doubt and fear clouded their minds.

    Jeremiah had to stand up against a host of prophets when he delivered his message. Some were appointed by the king, others by priests. Neither wanted to believe Jeremiah because it wasn’t the news they wanted to hear. Instead of listening they made up their own interpretations without praying to God. All of their interpretations were designed to benefit themselves because they were centered around what the priests, king, and people wanted to hear. That’s what that pastor wanted to accomplish with his video. I’m sure he feels good about himself as he checks the number of views recorded and convinces himself popular belief out weighs God’s advise and commandments.

    The fact remains, the religious leaders knew the parable was about them. Once again we see religious leader understanding one little part and making assumptions on the remaining portions of the parable. We see this all the time. I tried reaching out to that pastor and a host of his followers pointing out the video. I’ve also contended with that pastor and his followers on a few other issues. I know that pastor’s ability to study the Bible is limited to proof texts. I’ve read his studies and seen how shallow and one dimensional they are. I pointed out other texts. I also pointed out how his proof texts are taken out of context. But that doesn’t interest him. Instead he tried to lead his church to a unified form of Bible Study – which is simple proof texts and adopt it as a standard. He wanted to go one step further by convincing the church only qualified, educated individuals should be allowed to interpret scripture. This is another example of how far people will go to maintain control. The main weapon they use is to control knowledge by controlling access to God’s Word. They use many means to accomplish their goal.

    My goal isn’t to tell anyone what to believe or provide any answers to questions people have. I know that pastor and many others are not ready for some of the details I’ve been shown in God’s Word. They wouldn’t believe them unless they discovered the details themselves. They are like the priests who wondered why a prophet would reveal himself to a leper before coming to them. All their spiritual education is better left up to God’s Spirit. Only He knows what they are prepared to see and understand and at what pace they are able to learn. All I want to do is share a few fundamental study methods they can use and let God’s Spirit lead them. The next one for us to review is the comparison between the introductions of these two chapters. First the prophecy.

    Psalms 118:1-4 NLTse Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. (2) Let all Israel repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.” (3) Let Aaron’s descendants, the priests, repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.” (4) Let all who fear the LORD repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.”

    The introduction to the prophecy in Psalm 118 repeats the same phrase four times. It must have a significant meaning, It’s something Aaron’s descendants are supposed to repeat so it must be pointing to something they forgot when the plotted to arrest Jesus. When we compare it to the first verse in Mark 12, we see a connection. Then Jesus began teaching them with stories:

    Jesus stories were taught through the faithful love that endures forever! Jesus’ stories weren’t designed to make Him look better by making the priests look bad. Jesus was sending the religious leaders back to Isiah chapter 5 as well as other scripture in the Old Testament. If the religious leaders were the experts in scripture they claimed to be, they would have found more than enough scripture to explain the parable Jesus told them. Neither did Jesus explain the symbols in those parables. He left that up to them and their relationship with God’s Spirit. One of the lessons we need to learn.

    That is a major fault I’ve seen in the video being spread on the Internet as well as other videos. Preachers like to take a text, especially a prophecy and leave you with the impression they know every detail. They never seem to share any ideas or instructions teaching how you can study on your own or find answers for yourselves. In essence, they are stealing glory away from God and His Spirit. How many commandments are they breaking? They need to rethink their process to lead you to the open gates inside God’s walls where, “His faithful love endures forever.”

    Jesus didn’t make it a habit of interpreting all the symbols. He did it for a few of His parables. Just enough to teach His disciples how to find answers on their own. Jesus sent people back to scripture and God’s Spirit. That’s how Jesus taught and that’s the example we’re given to follow. Psalm 118 explained this.

    Psalms 118:5-13 NLTse In my distress I prayed to the LORD, and the LORD answered me and set me free. (6) The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? (7) Yes, the LORD is for me; he will help me. I will look in triumph at those who hate me. (8) It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in people. (9) It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. (10) Though hostile nations surrounded me, I destroyed them all with the authority of the LORD. (11) Yes, they surrounded and attacked me, but I destroyed them all with the authority of the LORD. (12) They swarmed around me like bees; they blazed against me like a crackling fire. But I destroyed them all with the authority of the LORD. (13) My enemies did their best to kill me, but the LORD rescued me.

    What did Jesus do when He was in distress? He prayed to the LORD! What happened? The LORD answered me and set me free. No one set Jesus free except for God. The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? We may ask, what can mere people do for me? It seems mere people do more to draw people away from God than putting them in a position to draw closer to God. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in people. Sure Jesus defended Himself. How did He do it? With words and with the authority of the LORD. You can’t have one without the other. Look at how Jesus tried to reach the religious leaders. They swarmed around me like bees; they blazed against me like a crackling fire. But I destroyed them all with the authority of the LORD. My enemies did their best to kill me, but the LORD rescued me. Sure enemies can be pests. Sure they can look for ways to destroy you. Sure they can do their best to discredit you and try to silence you. Did they succeed in silencing Jesus? No! Because Jesus silenced them. He answered them with God’s authority which was given to Jesus at the right time with the right words and with enough scripture to back up what He said. Not one or two verse, but chapters.

    What does it take to receive that kind of power? Is it available to everyone? We’ve already studied the summation to Mark 12 in this book, but Psalm 118 adds a new dimension in a whole new light. A light none of us could have seen without His Spirit.

    Psalms 118:28-29 NLTse You are my God, and I will praise you! You are my God, and I will exalt you! (29) Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

    Mark 12:41-44 NLTse Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. (42) Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. (43) Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. (44) For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”

    Once again we see the phrase, His faithful love endures forever.” Now we have a little more information to explain how to express the faithful love we receive from God. The key is in the related words in the summation to Psalm 118. We praise, exalt, and give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! This is what the widow did when she dropped in two little coins. Those coins had little value, but the message is priceless. Your instructions are more valuable to me than millions in gold and silver. You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands. Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold. Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. My advice is wholesome. There is nothing devious or crooked in it. My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge. Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold. For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it. (Psalms 119:72-73, Proverbs 3:13-15, Proverbs 8:8-11 NLTse).

    After listening to Jesus preach in the temple courtyard, a few coins were a small price to pay for the knowledge the poor widow gained. She wanted others to hear the messages Jesus brought. The widow is a symbol of those giving to the church to spread the message they hear with their own ears, read with their own eyes, and feel with their own heart. The widow symbolizes all those people who trust religious leaders have heard Jesus speak and understand His message. The widow had no way of knowing those religious leaders were planning on killing Jesus any more than people today know if their churches are going to preach how, “His faithful love endures forever.” All they can do is trust. The poor widow was also a reminder to the priests of their responsibility. Did they offer that widow a meal, or the orphan a home? Did they welcome and care for the poor, depressed, or strangers in the courtyard that day? Did they fulfill their vows and duty? What happened to those coins? If we looked ahead what would we find the priests doing with money from their treasury?

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Psalms 37:1-22 The Meek Will Inherit the Earth

Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 16, 2016


Psalms 37:1-22 The Meek Will Inherit the Earth

Matthew 5:1-12 KJ2000 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he had sat down, his disciples came unto him:And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, (3) Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (4) Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. (5) Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (6) Blessed are they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (7) Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. (8) Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. (9) Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (10) Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness‘ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (11) Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. (12) Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you.

As we progress through this series of prophecies in Psalms we can see how lessons are progressing from one form of study to the next. In this case it’s important to look at an understand the fulfillment before looking at the prophecy. In Matthew 5, Jesus quotes a portion of Psalm 37 in His sermon on the mountain. “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Using a chart will show us the main theme Jesus is teaching.

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness‘ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Now we can see two things, the progression Jesus used which highlights a series of related words and phrases.

Blessed are the poor

Blessed are they that mourn

Blessed are the meek

Blessed are they who do hunger and thirst

The words poor, mourn, meek, hunger, and thirst are all related. Each of them illustrates something the blessed lack. Poor is lacking wealth. We mourn when we loose something or see we lack something. Meekness is the lack of pride. This shows the beginning of Jesus’ progression. Hunger and thirst is the lack of food and water. Jesus is drawing us away from a worldly view of what He is teaching into a spiritual view. And Jesus said unto them, “I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35 KJ2000). “He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.” (But this spoke he of the Spirit, whom they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:38-39 KJ2000).

Jesus used contrasts in each of those four statements. When we look at them together we see a clear message of hope established by the promises Jesus gave.

theirs is the kingdom of heaven

for they shall be comforted

they shall inherit the earth

for they shall be filled

In the first four sentences Jesus showed what His followers lack and what they can achieve by following Him. By looking ahead at the explanations Jesus provided to explain spiritual food and water, we understand how a connection to Jesus is maintained. In the next three sentences Jesus tells us the qualities His followers will possess.

Blessed are the merciful

Blessed are the pure in heart

Blessed are the peacemakers

Jesus is not asking for much. He wants us to be merciful, pure in heart, and a peacemaker. It doesn’t seem like a difficult task. Each of these three comes with a reward.

they shall obtain mercy.

they shall see God.

they shall be called the children of God

Notice how Jesus keeps repeating the word they? He is drawing attention to an individual effort. It’s far more than a choice, it requires skill and is a learning process. In this world it’s not an easy task to accomplish. Jesus doesn’t hide the fact there will be opposition. Jesus knows this world and sees how it will react to the merciful and pure in heart. Jesus doesn’t want us to miss this point, so He repeats it.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness‘ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

One of the most important Bible Study rules is to look up and study the chapter Jesus quotes from. In this case we can see how Jesus only explained a portion of Psalm 37.

Psalms 37:1-22 KJ2000 [A Psalm of David.] Fret not yourself because of evildoers, neither be you envious of the workers of iniquity. (2) For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. (3) Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and verily you shall be fed. (4) Delight yourself also in the LORD; and he shall give you the desires of your heart. (5) Commit your way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. (6) And he shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. (7) Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass. (8) Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not yourself in any way to do evil. (9) For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. (10) For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, you shall diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. (11) But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. (12) The wicked plots against the just, and gnashes upon him with his teeth. (13) The Lord shall laugh at him: for he sees that his day is coming. (14) The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright behavior. (15) Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. (16) A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked. (17) For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholds the righteous. (18) The LORD knows the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be forever. (19) They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. (20) But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall vanish; into smoke shall they vanish away. (21) The wicked borrows, and pays not again: but the righteous shows mercy, and gives. (22) For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.

Comparing the two chapters its easy to see how one explains the other by adding greater detail. When we combine related texts we can see why Jesus knew it was important to send people back to scripture. Remember that Jesus sent His Spirit to guide us through these lessons. But His Spirit can’t accomplish anything until we make the decision to spend time to compare the scripture He is pointing to.

Fret not yourself because of evildoers, neither be you envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you.

Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and verily you shall be fed. Delight yourself also in the LORD; and he shall give you the desires of your heart.

Blessed are they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Commit your way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

The list goes on throughout the two chapters. David’s reference to righteousness as light is explained by Jesus in greater detail. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under a bushel, but on a lamp stand; and it gives light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 KJ2000). The lesson in this prophecy shows how to take your time and compare scripture to scripture. Prophecies are often used to exemplify a lesson by adding greater detail. To do this they must be kept within the context of scripture. People tend to take scripture out of context, twisting them around to apply them in a manner they were never intended to be used. Jesus knows prophecies far better than we ever will and wrote these two chapters to teach an important lesson we need to pay attention to.

Jesus told His disciples about the rough road ahead. He didn’t try painting a deceptive picture to gain a following. Jesus told the full story using contrasts. Heaven is gained when we turn our hearts and minds to peace and mercy. When we do, the enemy will use the world against us. Its a simple concept. Jesus used contrast to shows us how to understand the lessons between Psalm 37 and Matthew 5. There may not be a greater contrast in the Bible than these two chapters. Jesus taught on a positive note telling His disciples how they needed to act. The prophecy in Psalm 37 dwells on the actions of the world. We see that right away when we highlight the key words. Evildoers, wicked, and enemy are found throughout the prophecy which makes it clear, they will be destroyed when the prophecy is fulfilled.

God’s timing is the hardest lesson to learn. That’s because prophecies repeat over time. We’ve seen how the prophecy in Psalm 35 related to Jesus’ trial as well as Paul’s who was a symbol for all of Jesus’ followers. We also see how Jesus presented His promises and warnings on a personal level. Not all Christians will go through the same trials Paul faced. Neither will they make the same mistakes. Almost everyone whose opened the Bible and read portions of it has seen how it relates to their personal experiences on one level or another. Personal experiences may not be the greater spiritual fulfillment of the prophecy but it is a way God reaches out on an individual level. Here we see another example of how a prophecy is fulfilled on different levels at different times. “The meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” This was fulfilled when Jesus began His ministry when He explained how His followers will find peace by showing mercy and seek peace. God’s promise was certain long before He spoke it or had it recorded in scripture. How it was fulfilled was revealed when Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave. We can receive the inheritance now and in the future. One prophecy can span many time segments. This is why we’re told, “God’s time is not our time.” It takes more to understand than days, years, and dates which are the physical aspects of time. It takes a close relationship with God to understand the spiritual side of God’s timing. Everyday God’s Spirit reaches out to every person in this world. We have no idea what God has planned for all those people. Our relationship with God should teach us how to rely on His Spirit to help us with our problems, and allow God’s Spirit to help others. Some times it takes more discipline not to get involved. We have to learn to listen to God’s voice to know how much we need to get involved and when. These studies are designed to show us a part of God’s personality, how He presents and explains details. Some times lessons seem obvious, although we have to admit we don’t always follow the right examples. Other times chapters combine to reveal lessons we never considered. Either case, we need to look back and review to see how they are introduced and taught. If we’re Christ’s disciples, we’re supposed to be studying from Him, learning to be like Him. We need to learn what Jesus taught, how He taught, when and to whom He taught. Then we need to pray and listen so we hear the command when we’re sent out. Since we’ve already looked at the introductions and a number of texts between the two chapters, it’s time to compare the summations.

Matthew 5:44-48 KJ2000 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you; (45) That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (46) For if you love them who love you, what reward have you? do not even the tax collectors the same? (47) And if you greet your brethren only, what do you more than others? do not even the tax collectors so? (48) Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.

Psalms 37:35-40 KJ2000 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. (36) Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. (37) Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. (38) But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off. (39) But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble. (40) And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

Jesus introduces the new key word love in the conclusion of this chapter which is the center of His sermon. He also repeats the word perfect which links it to the conclusion of Psalm 37. Although Psalm 37 and Matthew 5 are contrasts, with Psalm 37 explaining what will happen to wicked people who persecute God’s children, Jesus tells His disciples to love and pray for their enemies. Jesus tells His disciples to be different than the world. And why not? Our God is different from this world. Our role in His plan of salvation is to find out how God and Heaven are different and tell other people about it. That was the theme of Jesus sermon.

David may not have know all of God’s plan, but he sums up a great deal of it at the end of Psalm 37. There are only two classes, those who are saved and those who are lost. David doesn’t provide a lot of details, but tells us the wicked will be in great power. This is the sort of statement pretend prophets like to grasp onto and elaborate on under their own terms. You’ll see a total lack of disregard for context in their estimations. Once we understand this prophecy and how Jesus used it in His sermon and elaborated on some of the details, you can understand one major point. If Jesus didn’t spend His time and efforts teaching details about the wicked, how and why should we listen to modern prophets on the subject? We need to concentrate on what Jesus taught on the subject, how to act which involves loving and praying for our enemies. We’re given assurance God will save and deliver us from this world. That should be enough for us. How can we ever expect to learn to listen to God’s spoken voice if we don’t develop skills to understand His written Word?

Another aspect of Bible Study is to look at the personalities involved in the stories. Where were they in their walk with God? What were they facing? What events led up to the event? David faced all kinds of challenges in his life. We can’t be certain what challenge he was facing when he wrote this Psalm or who was threatening him at the time. We know David faced off against a giant when the rest of Israel’s army shivered in fear. The key word in 1 Samuel 17 is battle, calling attention to the spiritual battles we all face. Samuel told us how we have to face those battles. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hands. (1 Samuel 17:47 KJ2000). When David grew, Saul put him in charge of Israel’s army. After a number of victories Saul became jealous of David. A number of times Saul forgot David was the only relief from the evil spirit that tormented him. Jealousy overcame Saul when he tried to kill David. Pride was more important to Saul then the relief David provided. Saul pursued David for years as God guided him from one safe hold to another. Saul and his sons died in battle opening the way for David to take the throne. By that time David accumulated a number of wives and added more after being crowned king. Saul’s jealousy was replaced by David’s many wives. War also waged on all sides of Israel. God granted one victory after another, but David still felt his position required an effort on his end. Since David no longer personally led the army, worry seemed like the thing to do. David’s position required more than fighting wars and calming family quarrels. As king, David took on the role of judge. He also dwelt with trade agreements and other details such as maintaining trade routes and feeding hundreds of officials and servants. Most of the worry was self induced. When David had Uriah killed so he could marry his wife, it showed how little David appreciated people at his command and trusted them. Once you turn your back on one person, it becomes more difficult to trust others. This was one of the few lessons David taught Solomon before he handed the kingdom down to him. It wasn’t the lesson God wanted David to hand down, but it was all David knew.

If David could have kept the faith he had as a youth, he could have averted his worries and a lot of pain. What changed David? His faith in God was secure until he took the throne. Power changed David, another lesson we can see. David should have learned a lesson from Saul’s mistrust and jealousy. Instead of learning the lesson, David repeated it when jealousy engulfed him, causing him to execute one of his trusted mighty men of valor. One of David’s weak spots was women. The boy who stood alone in a valley against a giant fell to the beauty, touch, and kind words of a woman. The enemy found a weak spot and took advantage.

Still David listened to God and remembered how God defeated his enemies. David was also shown the future when God will remove all evil from this world. Still, David’s lack of faith kept him from seeing all the details. Imagine how David could have understood much more about the prophecies he wrote if his faith remained strong. One of the most important lessons we see on a spiritual level is how David’s lack of faith effected his ability to teach the world about the God he served. As king it was David’s role to assist the priests in telling the world about God. Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah. (1 Samuel 16:13 KJ2000). All of us have God’s Spirit on us, but few know how to listen and follow. The world can have a mighty pull on each of us. Its a battle much like the one David faced against Goliath. When we overcome one fear and gain victory in one battle, it doesn’t stop the enemy from waging war on another front. Satan doesn’t depend on a single front to attack. The greatest king and army commander Israel knew fell victim to Satan’s attacks. David fell but still clung onto God. His past experiences taught David how God is able to put down all his enemies including Satan, who one day will be destroyed.

Jesus led a childhood much different than David. For one thing, if Jesus made one mistake, forgot one lesson, sinned only once, who knows if any of us would be here today. Jesus had to get it right the first time. Somehow God was able to reach Jesus at a very young age, protect and teach Him so He knew right from wrong. Jesus’ life wasn’t easy. David’s prophecy shows us how wicked people lived to take advantage of people who only wanted to live in peace and treat everyone fairly. We see the same thing today, shysters and people making a living from scams, looking for honest people to prey upon. They think they’re stupid and look at them as easy prey. Can you imagine what Jesus went through as He grew up? Every dishonest merchant for miles around must have tried to take advantage of Him for nothing more than to make a name for himself. Jesus’ honesty was legendary before He began His ministry. Jesus was smart enough not to attract attention. He never looked for praise or recognition. When Jesus helped a widow it was between Himself and her. Helping people opened doors to His personal ministry which was developed long before His call to public ministry. While John the Baptist was being instructed in the wilderness, Jesus received His instructions in the home, his father’s workshop, and in the streets and synagogues of Nazareth.

As Jesus grew, things became more difficult. You know what happens to kids who don’t follow the crowd, who stand out as the good one. The older, larger kids do their best to knock him down a few notches. Without knowing it they become Satan’s little agents because they are easy to influence, to push from on degree to the next. This is where Jesus learned to forgive people because they didn’t realize what they were doing.

Of course scripture was a main source of information and inspiration for Jesus. The only place He could read God’s Word was in the local synagogue. This also opened doors for Jesus to discuss and share the wonders of God’s Word and the lessons it taught. Long discussions with the local priests was one of the few sources of refuge and solitude in Jesus’ earliest days. They were also some of the most trying as He tried to explain truths in God’s Word He understood, but were not in line with acceptable customs, doctrines, and traditions. Those experiences showed Jesus some of the trials ahead. Scripture also played a major role in preparing Jesus for the trials ahead. The prophecies David and the other prophets wrote generations ago were about the life Jesus was living. At last Jesus was a man and prepared to face the world in a ministry that would forever change the world.

When Jesus climbed the mountain with His disciples, He knew the lessons He needed to teach. He lived through many of the trials and read about many others. He knew the trials He was about to face and the trials His followers were going to endure. Jesus already lived through many of them before He gathered His disciples. His ministry was an example for them to learn from. The prophecies also taught Jesus how men forget, how people look for their own solutions, and how people who turn to God during trials and turn away after God delivers them. Many of the prophecies were meant to teach Jesus how people react to situations which was far different than His reaction to trails. Jesus had to know both sides of every situation, even thought He could only live one. Jesus could never feel the emotion of making the wrong choice, of turning away from God and relying on Himself.

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Psalms 22 Why Have You Abandoned Me

Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 16, 2016


Psalms 22 Why Have You Abandoned Me

Psalms 22:1-31 NLTse My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? (2) Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief. (3) Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. (4) Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. (5) They cried out to you and were saved. They trusted in you and were never disgraced. (6) But I am a worm and not a man. I am scorned and despised by all! (7) Everyone who sees me mocks me. They sneer and shake their heads, saying, (8) “Is this the one who relies on the LORD? Then let the LORD save him! If the LORD loves him so much, let the LORD rescue him!” (9) Yet you brought me safely from my mother’s womb and led me to trust you at my mother’s breast. (10) I was thrust into your arms at my birth. You have been my God from the moment I was born. (11) Do not stay so far from me, for trouble is near, and no one else can help me. (12) My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls; fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in! (13) Like lions they open their jaws against me, roaring and tearing into their prey. (14) My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me. (15) My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead. (16) My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet. (17) I can count all my bones. My enemies stare at me and gloat. (18) They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice for my clothing. (19) O LORD, do not stay far away! You are my strength; come quickly to my aid! (20) Save me from the sword; spare my precious life from these dogs. (21) Snatch me from the lion’s jaws and from the horns of these wild oxen. (22) I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you among your assembled people. (23) Praise the LORD, all you who fear him! Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob! Show him reverence, all you descendants of Israel! (24) For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy. He has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help. (25) I will praise you in the great assembly. I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you. (26) The poor will eat and be satisfied. All who seek the LORD will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. (27) The whole earth will acknowledge the LORD and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him. (28) For royal power belongs to the LORD. He rules all the nations. (29) Let the rich of the earth feast and worship. Bow before him, all who are mortal, all whose lives will end as dust. (30) Our children will also serve him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord. (31) His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born. They will hear about everything he has done.

Almost everyone familiar with the Bible will know this prophecy David wrote points directly to Christ on the cross. I have to sit and wonder, and pray, asking why God arranged the prophecies about Jesus in this order. We clearly see God repeating Himself and we know when God repeats Himself, we better pay attention. The last lesson was not placed in the previous position by mistake. It showed how the priests ignored messages from Jesus, who always pointed them back to scripture and God’s Spirit, who has always been more than willing to show them the proper interpretation of the prophecies pointing to Jesus their Messiah. As I’m writing this, I can see there are a number of details I still don’t understand. It’s encouraging to see how God arranged these prophecies so we can go back and review the subject to see what we’ve missed. This reminds us of two important Bible Study rules. Always look back and God will only teach us what we’re ready for. When we get too much information at one time we tend to forget many of the details. Getting too much information at once also gives us a tendency to rely on ourselves. Then there’s the fact God’s Spirit is developing a personal relationship with us. Part of that relationship is to bridge a need between both parties. Once the key words are highlighted in Psalm 22, we see how important the words trust, praise and hear are in this prophecy. You may be asking how God’s Spirit needs you. We see the answer in the last verses. Our children will also serve him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord. His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born. They will hear about everything he has done.

I don’t think anyone can write about Psalm 22 without paying particular attention to the first verse. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Once we pray about this verse, we see how it relates to us in more than one way. You have to ask yourself, why and how would Jesus think God abandoned Him? We also think about the times we felt abandoned. Most of us face financial problems, marriage problems, problems with kids, neighbors, work related problems, taxes, mortgages, bills, people who get on our nerves, people who take advantage of us, problems with relationships, weather, natural disasters, wars, crime, drugs, the list seems to never end. We all have times when it seems like God forgot all about us, or we look back and ask what we did wrong. This is Jesus’ way of showing us, He’s been in the same boat. The world was getting to Him. It gets to us and Jesus wants us to know, He knows how we feel, no matter how bad things get – Jesus prayed this when He was on the cross.

It’s strange to see David begin a prayer like this. Usually he begins with a praise to God. This one is not David’s usual style. That’s to show us, its okay to put our needs in front of God’s praise when the time is right. This is also the easiest prophecy to find associated New Testament texts. Based on the details, it’s not difficult to see how this prophecy points to Jesus on the cross. When we see that, we also think of where the fulfillment of this prophecy is recorded. All four gospels record Jesus’ crucifixion. Which one is the correct parallel chapter or will all four provide details? Is God’s Spirit leading us into a new lesson in Bible Study? It’s rare to see an entire chapter concentrate on a single prophecy. Of course we see why this one sets its own style in more ways than one. Since we realize the biggest mistake the priests made was to misjudge the prophecies about Jesus, it would be wise to look at all four gospels and compare the details so we don’t miss the lessons the priests who put Jesus on the cross missed. But first let’s look at some of the key words. I noticed how some of the key words are attached to phrases we need to look at.

trusted in you, and you rescued them

trusted in you and were never disgraced

Is this the one who relies on the LORD?

led me to trust you

you rescued them

They cried out to you and were saved.

Then let the LORD save him

let the LORD rescue him

Save me from the sword

spare my precious life from these dogs

enemies surround me like a herd of bulls

enemies surround me like a pack of dogs

enemies stare at me and gloat

proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters

praise you among your assembled people

Show him reverence

praise you in the great assembly

All who seek the LORD will praise him.

The whole earth will acknowledge the LORD and return to him.

all you descendants of Jacob

Our children will also serve him.

Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord.

It’s amazing how key words and terms they’re associated with tell a story all their own. It’s God’s way of telling us to slow down when we study. When we trust in God we’re rescued and will never face disgrace. When we cry out to God, He saves us from the sword and dogs, all kinds of harm. This prophecy uses a list of symbols to represent enemies – bulls, dogs, lions, and oxen. Those symbols are used in other prophecies. Our attention is on the cross in this study. The cross is to be proclaimed to our brothers and sisters, physical and spiritual. Proclaimed to all people. Jesus praises God in Heaven by His sacrifice. We see how the message of the cross doesn’t stop here, but extends to Heaven. All who seek the LORD will praise him. The whole earth will acknowledge the LORD and return to him. This includes all you descendants of Jacob, all the children who serve God, and all future generations who hear about the wonders of the Lord. The keys words in this prophecy explain a great deal about God’s plan of salvation, what part this world plays in it and what Jesus’ role is. It also explains our role, to proclaim the message to all the world. Now to look at New Testament scripture to see details about that message. The first detail to compare is scripture associated with and/or quoted in the New Testament.

Matthew 27:33-55 NLTse And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). (34) The soldiers gave him wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it. (35) After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. (36) Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there. (37) A sign was fastened to the cross above Jesus‘ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” (38) Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. (39) The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. (40) “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!” (41) The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. (42) “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! (43) He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'” (44) Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with him ridiculed him in the same way. (44) At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. (46) At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (47) Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. (48) One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. (49) But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.” (50) Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. (51) At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, (52) and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. (53) They left the cemetery after Jesus‘ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people. (54) The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!” (55) And many women who had come from Galilee with Jesus to care for him were watching from a distance.

Mark 15:22-42 NLTse And they brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). (23) They offered him wine drugged with myrrh, but he refused it. (24) Then the soldiers nailed him to the cross. They divided his clothes and threw dice to decide who would get each piece. (25) It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. (26) A sign was fastened to the cross, announcing the charge against him. It read, “The King of the Jews.” (27) Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. (29) The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. (30) Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!” (31) The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! (32) Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” Even the men who were crucified with Jesus ridiculed him. (33) At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. (34) Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (35) Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. (36) One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. “Wait!” he said. “Let’s see whether Elijah comes to take him down!” (37) Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. (38) And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. (39) When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!” (40) Some women were there, watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James the younger and of Joseph), and Salome. (41) They had been followers of Jesus and had cared for him while he was in Galilee. Many other women who had come with him to Jerusalem were also there. (42) This all happened on Friday, the day of preparation, the day before the Sabbath. As evening approached,

Luke 23:27-49 NLTse A large crowd trailed behind, including many grief-stricken women. (28) But Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. (29) For the days are coming when they will say, ‘Fortunate indeed are the women who are childless, the wombs that have not borne a child and the breasts that have never nursed.’ (30) People will beg the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and plead with the hills, ‘Bury us.’ (31) For if these things are done when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (32) Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. (33) When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified–one on his right and one on his left. (34) Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. (35) The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” (36) The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine. (37) They called out to him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” (38) A sign was fastened to the cross above him with these words: “This is the King of the Jews.” (39) One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself–and us, too, while you’re at it!” (40) But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? (41) We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” (42) Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” (43) And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (44) By this time it was noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. (45) The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle. (46) Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last. (47) When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshiped God and said, “Surely this man was innocent.” (48) And when all the crowd that came to see the crucifixion saw what had happened, they went home in deep sorrow. (49) But Jesus‘ friends, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching.

John 19:16-30 NLTse Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus away. (17) Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha). (18) There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them. (19) And Pilate posted a sign over him that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” (20) The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it. (21) Then the leading priests objected and said to Pilate, “Change it from ‘The King of the Jews‘ to ‘He said, I am King of the Jews.'” (22) Pilate replied, “No, what I have written, I have written.” (23) When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. (24) So they said, “Rather than tearing it apart, let’s throw dice for it. This fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my garments among themselves and threw dice for my clothing.” So that is what they did. (25) Standing near the cross were Jesus‘ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. (26) When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” (27) And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. (28) Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” (29) A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. (30) When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.

Since we are dealing with verses from four books, we need to look at the similarities. The first detail we see repeated in all four Gospels is the location Jesus was crucified. And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). What makes this detail so important? We see the answer in the books of Kings and Chronicles where the major details and deaths of Israel’s and Judah’s kings are recorded. Those books also recorded major events in the lives of kings. This is not uncommon. Historians and court recorders also recorded important events. Some are unbiased, others recorded only what they were told. God didn’t play favorites. He recorded achievements and victories as well as mistakes and defeats. In this case, we see how the authors of all four Gospels recorded the location of Jesus’ death. This shows how Jesus took His place among the kings as one of David’s descendants. God didn’t miss a single detail when He wrote His book. All four Gospels also show Pilate placed a sign over the cross telling everyone Jesus is the King of the Jews. Its fascinating how God used some people to fulfill prophesy when His own people refused to cooperate.

Three of the Gospels showed how Jesus was offered wine when He was nailed to the cross and how He refused it. This showed how Jesus faced His greatest trial without giving into any worldly means to escape or alleviate the pain. Everyday people try to escape this world by using drugs and alcohol. At the cross, Jesus showed the only way to escape this world is through His sacrifice. Addictions may be the most difficult sins to overcome. By refusing wine, Jesus showed how He succeeded where we fail. This is in addition to Jesus avoiding the temptation of alcohol and may be the reason the Festival of Unleavened Bread preceded Jesus’ sacrifice. Leaven, or yeast creates carbon dioxide and alcohol as byproducts. Talk about paying attention to details. God is showing His knowledge again. It must have taken nearly 2000 years from Christ’s resurrection before anyone found out yeast produced alcohol in bread. Of course yeast was used to ferment wine and spirits long before Jesus’ time.

All four Gospels recorded how soldiers divided Jesus’ clothing, which is the prophesy in Psalm 22 leading us to all four chapters describing Jesus’ crucifixion. What is so important about soldiers gambling to divide Jesus’ clothes? His clothes represented the last thing Jesus owned in this world. God is making a point by using a form of contrasts here. As Jesus hung on the cross, soldiers gambled for ownership of His last worldly possessions. The contrast is — the only sure thing in life is to understand Jesus’ sacrifice so your able to properly accept it for what it is and what the cross and sacrifice stand for. Reaching out in an attempt to grasp onto any part of this world is a gamble. What happens when that item, no matter how trivial it may seem turns out to be an idol? Jesus left this world with nothing. Jesus’ clothing represents how people look down at what the world has to offer instead of up to the Savior. John tells us how the soldiers viewed Jesus’ clothes. They worried more about preserving its value than measuring the value of the Son of God nailed to the cross in front of them. This is a special prophecy pointing to another prophecy with deeper symbolism than most people want to comprehend. Look at the symbolism of a garment. Jesus told a parable about a wedding feast where a man didn’t have on the proper garment. Missing the wedding garment cost the man his life. But here, Jesus gives up His garment and soldiers gambled for it. Why the contrast? The obvious lesson on the surface shows how some people place special significance and false claims of power on Jesus’ garments or his burial shroud. Like the soldiers, they place a higher significance on the worldly cloth than the Savior in Heaven. The lesson goes much deeper than that. What about doctrines – personal beliefs – misguided leadership and other idols people hold above the Savior who died for them? All of these take eyes off significant lessons taught at the cross. Each one of us has the choice to place ourselves at the foot of the cross to look up – or cast our eyes and faith on the world.

Another verse from Psalm 22 leading us to three of the Gospels describes how people will ridicule Jesus as He hung on the cross. Everyone who sees me mocks me. They sneer and shake their heads, saying, “Is this the one who relies on the LORD? Then let the LORD save him! If the LORD loves him so much, let the LORD rescue him!” Matthew and Mark mention people gathering at the cross, religious leaders, and two others on their crosses. Luke records the ridicule, but doesn’t specifically mention the priests. John makes no mention of the jeers from the crowd, but adds other details. The prophecy says, “Everyone who sees me mocks me.” For some reason the Gospels point out three groups. What does each represent? The main focus is of course on the main group of people who represent mainline Christians. Who really spends enough time praying and reflecting on the cross? One of the best kept secrets in Christianity is why Jesus died. The majority of mainline Christians hit on one aspect, Jesus died for our sins, but refuse to accept or teach the others. Two of the other main reasons is to save His Father’s reputation. Properly teaching this can be difficult. It requires knowledge of God’s plan of salvation. Preachers try to avoid the subject because their afraid people will ask questions they won’t be able to answer. If you study Jesus’ prayer in the garden before His arrest you’ll see this message. Scripture is filled with hundreds of prophecies describing Jesus’ ministry and sacrifice. If Jesus missed one of them, Satan would have been given the opportunity to accuse God of having a fault. This would have cast doubt on God’s government and leadership. Not only did Jesus put His life on the line, God put His Kingdom and all His creation at risk. If Jesus would have refused to go to the cross, God would have lost His Kingdom. It doesn’t require a complete understanding of God’s plan of salvation to teach this aspect of the cross. If preachers knew the second detail they neglect, they would know God made arrangements to make up for their short comings. We find another important detail and reason for Jesus’ sacrifice in Hebrews chapter 10. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:20-25 NLTse). Jesus died to open a direct path for all of us to God’s throne. This strikes fear in the hearts of many pastors. Like the Pharisees, they feel they may loose control of their followers. They are too busy looking at their man-made garments here in this world to take an honest look at the cross. Pride and self indulgence keep their eyes focused on the world are surely as a one piece woven coat distracted the Roman guards.

John’s Gospel left out details of people jeering Jesus, replacing them with a contrast to teach a spiritual lesson. Standing near the cross were Jesus‘ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. In a few simple verses John opens a door for God’s Spirit to send our minds back over a number of verses showing the lessons Jesus taught that have new meaning when when examined with light from the cross. Jesus’ mother was a widow. Jesus taught many lessons using widows as a spiritual symbol. Which stories come to mind? How do they relate to you? Or are you more influenced by the family structure evident in the lesson? Why did Jesus want to send His mother away from His brothers to live with John? Does that remind you about the stories where Jesus returned to His hometown and family and how they questioned Him? Does it show you how difficult it is to share Jesus with family? What about the act of separation? Lot lost his influence once he separated himself from Abraham. All Lot needed was five people to save Sodom. The angels left with four. Lot could not reach one person once he separated from the promise. Do examples of separation come to mind when you read John’s account of the cross? John also records a new union. Jesus placed His mother’s care in the hands of one of His trusted disciples. The symbol of a new beginning.

Darkness covering the cross is recorded in three of the Gospels. Once again, John is the only author who does not record this event, but does include the detail of the Roman soldier offering Jesus wine a second time. There is a spiritual connection between darkness and wine. You can find it in the Bible on your own if you care to search for it. On the surface we see how wine, which leads to addiction carries a worldly interpretation connecting it to darkness. Addiction does everything it can to draw people away from the cross, Jesus and God. It traps people by convincing them God doesn’t have the power it takes to break the addiction. What do we get when we compare an addition to the freedom of choice God gives us? No wonder addiction feels like a battle. It’s a battle between self will, self reliance, and a call from God. The priests could not break their addictions. Doctrines, traditions, their prophetic interpretations coupled with their lust for power combined to lead people to them and steal glory due only to God.

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? The opening line of David’s Psalm immediately sets the tone and leads us to texts telling us how this prophecy was fulfilled. Why did people think Jesus was calling for Elijah? Matthew and Mark both recorded this detail. This is one of those instances where the events seem strange when you think about it. Was it another way to cast doubt on Jesus while trying to suppress the guilt they felt? That’s what we call prodding from God’s Spirit when we don’t agree with the message – a guilty conscience. It was the last chance for many of the people to call out to Jesus in the flesh. But who was going to stand out in a crowd to stick up for a convicted criminal? After all they trusted in the priests. To stand up for the man on the cross meant to oppose the established religion. Is there a spiritual side to this misunderstanding? What does Elijah represent? Remember Jesus took a couple of His disciples up to a mountain to meet Elijah and Moses. Elijah made his way to Heaven when God sent a chariot of fire to pick him up. Remember how his assistant Elisha asked for and received a double blessing? That double blessing was lost when Elisha’s assistant took items from Naaman after his leprosy was healed. That double blessing was about to be restored. It was promised in a prophecy recorded in the Old Testament. “Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the LORD arrives. His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5-6 NLTse). Some people heard Jesus call for Elijah with His last breath as a plea to turn to scripture — to find God and the true meaning of the Messiah. You know, what double blessing is still available.

Three of the Gospels also mention the curtain in the sanctuary tearing from top to bottom. Once again when we see a detailed repeated three times we know it has an important spiritual meaning. Out of all the details in these three New Testament chapters, this may be the one detail with the most conjectures attached to it. I’ve heard a list of of sermons preached on the curtain. Some people claim the veil was eighteen inches to three feet think. They get so dramatic describing the curtain, like it was a display of God’s power – as if He is the only one who could rip such a thick curtain. As if God needs their help to display His power – the God who wiped out thousands of soldiers in a single night, parted the Red Sea and the Jordan River, flooded the world, and of course created it. There’s no Biblical evidence the curtain was that thick. In the Tabernacle it was described as fine linen, which indicates thin material. Why was the veil placed in the temple in the first place? It represented a separation between God and His people that began when Moses came down from the mountain with a glow on his face. When Moses came down Mount Sinai carrying the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, he wasn’t aware that his face had become radiant after speaking to the LORD. So when Aaron and the people of Israel saw the radiance of Moses’ face, they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called out to them and asked Aaron and all the leaders of the community to come over, and he talked with them. Then all the people of Israel approached him, and Moses gave them all the instructions the LORD had given him on Mount Sinai. When Moses finished speaking with them, he covered his face with a veil. But whenever he went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with the LORD, he would remove the veil until he came out again. Then he would give the people whatever instructions the LORD had given him, and the people of Israel would see the radiant glow of his face. So he would put the veil over his face until he returned to speak with the LORD. (Exodus 34:29-35 NLTse). That little bit of God’s glory on Moses’ face was too much for them. What did it remind them of? How did that glow effect them? Did it remind them of God’s show of power on the top of His mountain while they stripped off their earrings to make a golden calf and sacrificed to it as they danced naked around the god they made to lead them back to their homes in Egypt? Israel chose to separate themselves from God. Jesus came to bridge that separation. This is a vital part of David’s prophecy. “I will praise you in the great assembly. I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you. The poor will eat and be satisfied. All who seek the LORD will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. The whole earth will acknowledge the LORD and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him.” Removal of the veil represents much more than common men are able to comprehend or describe. God knew that. He didn’t leave the details to chance, so He had David record them. Now what are the veils your placing between you and the path to God Jesus opened?

There are also two details mentioned in only one of the Gospels. When we combine these, they tell their own story. “The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus‘ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.” The other detail may not be as spectacular, but is preached far more often. When we look at the two together we see how one explains the other. “But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” When comparing texts like this, ask two questions. What are the similarities and contrasts? What common lesson do these verses converge to teach? People raised from the graves went into Jerusalem to teach about Jesus. Can you imagine what they had to share? Did they teach glimpses of God’s plan of salvation they learned while they lived or were they given a message that was new to them? This points out what the person crucified next to Jesus did. He witnessed about Jesus in public. He didn’t know much about Jesus, but he shared what he knew. “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” It was simple, but significant. This shows us it’s not how much you know, but how sincere you are. Look at the impact this man had on the world over the past 2000 years. This shows us how a few honest words spoken at the right time can live on for years. We see that message clearly illustrated when we compare it to the people God called from the grave to testify about Jesus. Their message lived on and turned people to Jesus well after their natural lives on earth.

Descriptions of the events at the cross seem to concentrate on people challenging Jesus while He was on the cross – people who didn’t believe in Him. This makes it easy to miss a few choice verses about people effected by the cross in a positive manner. God used Roman soldiers to illustrate a contrast between the religious leaders and hardened warriors able to see what’s in front of them. The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!” This detail, recorded in three Gospels shows how the last person you would think could be touched by Jesus – was! The few words Jesus spoke reached their hearts which opened up their understanding of the scene they witnessed. People used to polytheism looked up at Jesus – saw the path to God’s throne open and made a decision to believe. How often do we look at people and feel there’s no chance of them changing their lives? While people flocked to support the priests, few paid attention to the soldiers. They despised them. There was no way any of these people were going to share the little they knew about God with Roman soldiers. Their traditions forbid it. With just a few words, and the ultimate sacrifice Jesus touched their hearts. Jesus accomplished what the priests and people refused to do. He also taught a lesson for all of us to learn. We’ve seen how a few words can make a difference. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice, all we need to do is pray for the right words at the right time. If Jesus’ actions are able to reach hardened soldiers, why should we doubt His ability to reach anyone? Why should we question the ability of God’s Word to reach people where they are on their walk. As we dig deeper into God’s Word, we not only find out how’s it’s arranged, but unlock the simple terms God uses to make remembering lessons much easier. Now it’s time to look at and compare the introductions to the chapters we’re working with.

Matthew 27:1-10 NLTse Very early in the morning the leading priests and the elders met again to lay plans for putting Jesus to death. (2) Then they bound him, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor. (3) When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. (4) “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.” “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.” (5) Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself. (6) The leading priests picked up the coins. “It wouldn’t be right to put this money in the Temple treasury,” they said, “since it was payment for murder.” (7) After some discussion they finally decided to buy the potter’s field, and they made it into a cemetery for foreigners. (8) That is why the field is still called the Field of Blood. (9) This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah that says, “They took the thirty pieces of silver— the price at which he was valued by the people of Israel, (10) and purchased the potter’s field, as the LORD directed.”

Mark 15:1-5 NLTse Very early in the morning the leading priests, the elders, and the teachers of religious law–the entire high council–met to discuss their next step. They bound Jesus, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor. (2) Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “You have said it.” (3) Then the leading priests kept accusing him of many crimes, (4) and Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer them? What about all these charges they are bringing against you?” (5) But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise.

Luke 23:1-7 NLTse Then the entire council took Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor. (2) They began to state their case: “This man has been leading our people astray by telling them not to pay their taxes to the Roman government and by claiming he is the Messiah, a king.” (3) So Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “You have said it.” (4) Pilate turned to the leading priests and to the crowd and said, “I find nothing wrong with this man!” (5) Then they became insistent. “But he is causing riots by his teaching wherever he goes–all over Judea, from Galilee to Jerusalem!” (6) “Oh, is he a Galilean?” Pilate asked. (7) When they said that he was, Pilate sent him to Herod Antipas, because Galilee was under Herod’s jurisdiction, and Herod happened to be in Jerusalem at the time.

John 19:1-8 NLTse Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. (2) The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him. (3) “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, as they slapped him across the face. (4) Pilate went outside again and said to the people, “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.” (5) Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!” (6) When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” “Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.” (7) The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.” (8) When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever.

Psalms 22:1-31 NLTse My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? (2) Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief. (3) Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. (4) Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. (5) They cried out to you and were saved. They trusted in you and were never disgraced.

What do you think when you compare introductions of the four Gospels to Psalm 22? Each Gospel describes a different way Jesus was forsaken. Matthew shows how Jesus was betrayed by Judas. Matthew tells us how Judas saw what he did wrong – then he hung himself. Matthew also points to another prophecy about Jesus, the thirty pieces of silver. Was Judas the only disciple betraying Jesus? Judas did it for money, the other disciples may not be as guilty in worldly terms as Judas, but all of Jesus’ disciples missed the point. Not one of them listened to Jesus when He tried to open up scriptures to them a number of times. A process repeating itself today. Look at the world today. Is there a single author writing about the prophecies Jesus fulfilled, or a pastor preaching about the 300 prophecies written about Jesus? Considering the message is repeated in the New Testament more than 200 times it proves one point, preachers today are trying to teach by leaving out major portions of the Bible. Jesus’ disciples had no idea what they missed…. either do preachers today. Their making a mistake with no idea how far they’ve drifted away from the plain, simple word Jesus came to teach. How many times did Jesus refer to scriptures about Himself? Does anyone look at those texts today? When I study the Gospel’s, I can see how much the disciples missed. I can see how they were distracted. I can see why the disciples didn’t understand why Jesus was on the cross in front of them. I see the same mistake in preachers today. They have no idea why Jesus hung on the cross. Their insight to the cross is dim….. they spend little or no time in front of God’s throne – listening and learning about all the aspects and details of the cross. They feel secure knowing a detail or two but few pastors have personally experienced the emotions of the cross – or looked deep into God’s plan of salvation to see why Jesus had to sacrifice His life. Jesus died for much more than our sins. His life here, a fulfillment of prophecies in scripture, teach lessons the world needs today – so we can all go home. Its not just paid preachers… Look back at the example Judas set. Look at it on a spiritual level. Peter told us Jesus died to make us a kingdom of priests. Learning about Jesus is a personal matter — All who seek the LORD will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. The whole earth will acknowledge the LORD and return to him.

Mark’s introduction takes quite a different approach. Mark jumps right into the scene where the priests took Jesus to Pilate and points out one simple detail, Jesus did not answer the charges. This one point has significance when we compare it to the other introductions.

Luke’s introduction follows the same theme as Mark’s while adding more details. The priests used the subject of money to deface Jesus in front of Pilate. This shows what the priest’s minds were dwelling on throughout the process. Don’t forget, they’ve been planning Jesus’ assassination for a long time. Something came up the priest’s hadn’t planned on. Pilate sent Jesus to Herod. It seems like a small detail, but look at the associated terms. Matthew pointed out a prophecy. We know every prophecy points to a far greater fulfillment. That’s what we need to look for.. details far greater than expected. It’s another test from God. “They took the thirty pieces of silver— the price at which he was valued by the people of Israel, and purchased the potter’s field, as the LORD directed.” Always look at the original verse that’s quoted to get the full view. And I said to them, “If you like, give me my wages, whatever I am worth; but only if you want to.” So they counted out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”–this magnificent sum at which they valued me! So I took the thirty coins and threw them to the potter in the Temple of the LORD. (Zechariah 11:12-13 NLTse). When we look back we see an interesting verse we can understand when we compare the three introductions we’ve looked at so far. I got rid of their three evil shepherds in a single month. But I became impatient with these sheep, and they hated me, too. (Zechariah 11:8 NLTse). So far we’ve seen three people involved in Jesus’ trial, the high priest, Pilate, and Herod. There’s another interesting detail Matthew added that sheds a spiritual understanding to the story when we examine the details. Matthew added, ” the price at which he was valued by the people of Israel.” How do each of the three shepherds Jesus got rid of fit into the description of valuing Jesus? It begins with the price the priests paid Judas. He may be one of the shepherds, but Judas was the only one who saw he made a mistake. The scene moved unto Pilate’s court. How much did Pilate value Jesus? We’re shown how much Pilate valued judgment. He knew Jesus was innocent. Instead of jumping ahead, let’s look at what Luke says he did. Pilate tried passing responsibility by sending Jesus to Herod. That’s how much Pilate valued Jesus and justice. Pilate placed such a low value to Jesus, he passed Him off to another judge. What about Herod. All he wanted to see was a miracle. When he didn’t get what he wanted, Herod passed Jesus back off to Pilate. Look at what the three represented – religion and government.

How does this apply to today? What value does government put on justice? What does the government pass off? Just a personal comment and observation – elected officials like to pass off all the responsibility they can. They complain sports figures, movie stars, and song writers are poor examples to youth and society in general. What do politicians do to set an example? Look at how they conduct election campaigns. Instead of discussing policies and issues, they point out mistakes made by their opponents. We call it mud slinging and for some reason it’s accepted by society with little or no regard for the effect it has on our youth. Years ago parents used to dream of their child growing up to be president. Today that would sound like a curse. Politicians approve billions to spend on research for bullying. All the money goes to PhD’s and research staff in ivory towers who may share a snippet with people actually counseling youths harmed by bulling – but little if any money goes to people harmed by this habit. Do researchers ever point out the real cause? The major cause of bullying is seen on TV’s one minute at a time – repeated thousands of times every election. What are youth supposed to think when they see our leaders conducting themselves in such underhanded manner? We need not look past elected officials to see an example of anything goes… Character assassination is the only game politicians know how to play. When something goes wrong they never take responsibility for their mistakes. Hence, there is no way they’ll ever learn from their mistakes. The effect on youth is devastating and it is taking place all over the world. Talk about a secret plan carried out all over the world. Satan does it all the time and no one realizes what is happening while the effects are felt all over the world day after day. Just like Pilate and Herod, politicians neglect responsibility and it trickles down through every part of society. John sums this up in his introduction. John tells us how Jesus was beaten and abused by Roman soldiers. Where was the compassion when they took Jesus back to Pilate? Once again, Pilate found someone to pass responsibility onto. Then he sent Jesus to the cross where He died. Not a small matter when your talking about any life – but here we’re talking about God’s Son.

Here we read and learn about only a few of the lessons Jesus was teaching during His sacrifice. When we compare the introductions to these chapters in the four Gospels, we can see why Jesus asked if God abandoned Him. Was Jesus questioning the pain, sacrifice, or the lack of influence God’s Spirit had on some of the people around Him? When we look at David’s prophecy as a prayer, we see how Jesus’ cry for help is not just for Himself, His family, friends and disciples, but all the people He prayed for every day and night. We’ve been shown a lot of details up to this point, and more can be found when we compare summations for the chapters we are studying.

Matthew 27:57-66 NLTse As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, (58) went to Pilate and asked for Jesusbody. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. (59) Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. (60) He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. (61) Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching. (62) The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. (63) They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ (64) So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.” (65) Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” (66) So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.

Mark 15:43-47 NLTse Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesusbody. (Joseph was an honored member of the high council, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.) (44) Pilate couldn’t believe that Jesus was already dead, so he called for the Roman officer and asked if he had died yet. (45) The officer confirmed that Jesus was dead, so Pilate told Joseph he could have the body. (46) Joseph bought a long sheet of linen cloth. Then he took Jesus’ body down from the cross, wrapped it in the cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone in front of the entrance. (47) Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where Jesusbody was laid.

Luke 23:50-56 NLTse Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph. He was a member of the Jewish high council, (51) but he had not agreed with the decision and actions of the other religious leaders. He was from the town of Arimathea in Judea, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come. (52) He went to Pilate and asked for Jesusbody. (53) Then he took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in a long sheet of linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock. (54) This was done late on Friday afternoon, the day of preparation, as the Sabbath was about to begin. (55) As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was placed. (56) Then they went home and prepared spices and ointments to anoint his body. But by the time they were finished the Sabbath had begun, so they rested as required by the law.

John 19:38-42 NLTse Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesusbody. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. (39) With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. (40) Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesusbody with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. (41) The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before. (42) And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

The most significant detail we see shared in the four summations is Joseph of Arimathea asking Pilate for Jesus’ body and burying Jesus in his own tomb. The event is recorded in all of four of the Gospels. Matthew lays the ground work for an inductive study by repeating the word, body, a number of times. Matthew wanted to convey the emotion felt at that moment. They looked at Jesus as a body. No one understood what His death meant. No one had any idea Jesus was victorious and there was nothing the enemy could do to take it away from Him. The tomb is no longer a waiting place.. but takes on the symbol of a test. The faith of all of Jesus’ followers was being tested, just like Jonah was tested in the belly of the fish. God has His own way of bringing out parallel points – Jonah was the famous – reluctant prophet – now a symbol emerges showing how all of Jesus’ followers were reluctant, unprepared and unwilling to proclaim Jesus’ message at that point. Now comes the tough question – how does that apply today? Not applying to the world, but to you. Look at the texts, Joseph of Arimathea acted alone. It was an individual action – an act of love – one of the few examples of unconditional love by a normal human in the Bible. We also see Mary mentioned. She was another example of unconditional love we see recorded in the Bible. This is emphasized in all four of the summations for a reason. Unconditional love is the essence of Jesus’ ministry. Without unconditional love, we are not prepared to deliver Jesus’ message in all its glory.

We also see a contrast only Matthew brings to light. Remember how the priests delivered Jesus to Pilate? They wanted to ensure Jesus was unclean according to their customs… so He would not be an acceptable sacrifice to God. The priests rejected the concept of the Messiah as a sacrifice. It didn’t fit the major points on their interpretations. Still something inside them was telling them to consider the point. A war raged inside them between God’s Spirit and the enemy. They cast blame on Jesus for the war within their consciences. They convinced themselves relief would come as soon as they dwelt with Jesus. Getting Him out of the way seemed to be the only solution. Finally they acted and as Matthew records, their consciences still bothered them… bits and pieces of Jesus’ ministry were still on their minds. Two major points are illustrated here. First is how religious people attack others because their beliefs don’t align. It also shows, no matter how hard God’s Spirit tries to reach them, they may never understand. As long as they hang onto self – blame others and refuse to examine the inner self and scripture with guidance from God’s Spirit, they may be lost. Jesus pointed the priests and Pharisees to many of the major texts about His life, ,ministry, and sacrifice – but they never listened and history shows, didn’t bother to consult scripture on their own – a parallel still alive and kicking today. It’s so much easier to rely on spiritual leaders, or personal memory… few people perceive the power in God’s Word. Self includes taking the easy way out. It also includes trying to prove your right at all costs. Even to the point of breaking your own misguided rules. The priests were determined to make Jesus unclean, so they had Him carried into Pilate’s court the day before the Passover. On the day of the Passover the priests throw out all the rules in an attempt to try another idea to prove they were right. The priest’s walked into Pilate’s home. Something hid that detail about Jesus for a time then reminded the priests at the right moment. It was God’s Spirit at work according to His timing.

We’ve seen how much can be learned by looking back in scripture. Matthew established a contrast between unconditional love and people refusing to listen to God’s Spirit. What examples of each do we see in Jesus’ last day? The day began at sunset when Jesus gathered His disciples for dinner. During dinner Jesus tried to introduce and teach prophecies about what was about to happen. Once again His disciples changed the subject to who was the greatest among them – a concept still practiced today. Instead of listening to Jesus to find out what He has to teach about scripture, religious people all over the world like to argue about what they know. They would rather argue about whose greatest — namely themselves. Jesus used a few simple props to illustrate the point He was trying to make. He washed the feet of lowly fishermen, a doctor, tax collector, and a trader. None of whom wanted to listen to what He had to say. Jesus used what was there to illustrate other points. Jesus told them the bread represented His flesh. Then He broke the bread in front of them and told them to eat. The wine He used to represent His blood. Jesus already told them all of this months ago, but now was the time to repeat the lesson, this time with visual props. Jesus hoped His disciples would look back on all the lessons and parables He taught them, so they could see how they were all related. Jesus also hoped they would look back on all the miracles He performed and the people He brought back to life. Then Jesus identified the one who would betray Him. Jesus revealed another miracle, a sign to help strengthen them, give them assurance He would return. None of His disciples got the point. Jesus took them to pray. It was already dark. He took three of His disciples ahead with Himself. They fell asleep, showing how little they perceived. They were not only physically asleep, but spiritually. Three times God took Jesus back to see His disciples sleeping, a symbol of the condition of the world. As they slept, Jesus made His decision to go forward. If the world rejected Him, His Father never would. His Father’s kingdom was on the line. If every prophecy was not fulfilled on time, to the letter, Satan would have the opening he needed to accuse God of incompetence. Jesus had to move forward. Here is another illustration of unconditional love. Jesus died to save His Father’s Kingdom. God rewarded His Son by giving it all to Him. Now Jesus offers it to us… even tough we sleep through some of the most significant events in God’s plan of salvation. Even tough we don’t want to listen. Even though we miss every point He is trying to teach – Jesus still gives it all.

They came to arrest Jesus. Once again He showed His concern to His followers. He told the guards to take Him, but let the others go. Peter once again tried to show himself worthy by attacking one guard. It showed courage, concern, but a lack of planning and understanding. With one thought Jesus brought all the guards to their knees. It was only a small display of Jesus’ power, one the disciples would remember and one day come to understand. Jesus healed the guard’s ear to remind the guards of who they were dealing with as well as remind the disciples who was about to suffer for them. Even though Jesus went with the guards peaceably, they were ordered to chain Him. As one guard wrapped the Savior in chains, his mind drifted back over all the details he saw and heard about Jesus. He looked at the man in front of Him, wondering if Jesus was the one in scripture. The priest’s plans were underway. Presenting Jesus as a convicted criminal was part of their plot.

Jesus stood in the high priest’s home in chains. What a contrast to the elaborate dress of the priests and elders gathered to conduct the trial. It looked like the religious leaders gathered for a banquet dressed in their best robes. What a contrast to the simple dinner and lessons Jesus taught earlier in the evening. The religious leaders came to feast on their desires, pride, lusts, and ambitions at the expense of the one who opposed them. The results of the trial were determined before Jesus was arrested. The main goal of the priests was to deface Jesus in front of the crowds and assure He could not be an acceptable sacrifice. They beat Jesus, slapping Him in the face and tearing out hair from his face and head. It was a display to show God, Jesus was rejected by them – so how could God ever accept Him? To the priests, God was not the God of the universe, but a God of the box they put Him in. People do the same thing today. They memorize about six texts to answer every question they’ll ever run across. Those six verses become the sides, top and bottom of a box they try to stick the infinite God into.

Pilate had no concept of God or the Messiah, except for what he was told. Pilate was one, if not the most informed man on all of Jesus’ miracles and sermons. Pilate heard everything twice, reports from his soldiers and spies and a series of reports from the religious leaders. Pilate knew how they twisted the truth before they showed up with Jesus. That made little difference to Pilate who shared the same ambitions and lust for power the priests had. To them Jesus was nothing more than a pawn to gain power – a body and nothing more. All the way to the cross we see a lack of support and understanding, which is a prophecy itself, showing misunderstanding and lack of concern through history, leading up to and including Jesus’ return.

When we compare the summations of the four Gospels to Psalm 22, we can see how the prophecy relates to the fulfillment. Praise the LORD, all you who fear him! Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob! Show him reverence, all you descendants of Israel! Many people despised Jesus regardless of what the prophecies about Him said. David said, “all you descendants of Israel!” How many paid attention? For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy. He has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help. Jesus listened to the man next to Him on the cross and made Him a promise. Jesus also remembered what those people, everyone needed most, a way to forgive their sins forever. Jesus’ concerns for people before, during, and after the cross illustrated how He and His Father always put concerns of others before themselves. It’s an image of God Jesus came to teach the world. I will praise you in the great assembly. I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you. A promise to everyone, Jesus would rise from the tomb. The poor will eat and be satisfied. All who seek the LORD will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. To begin His last day, Jesus gathered His disciples for dinner not only to feed them with physical food, but spiritual. The main feast came after He rose from the grave when Jesus revealed all the prophecies about Himself and explained each one in detail. The whole earth will acknowledge the LORD and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him. A prophecy of the role Jesus’ followers will play spreading the word across the world. Telling the whole world about the prophecies Jesus fulfilled. For royal power belongs to the LORD. He rules all the nations. Let the rich of the earth feast and worship. Bow before him, all who are mortal, all whose lives will end as dust. Filling in the details, David makes it clear Jesus died to free all those in the grave, those who witnessed His sacrifice and everyone who came after. Our children will also serve him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord. His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born. They will hear about everything he has done.

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Psalms 16:7-11 The Lord Guides Me

Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 16, 2016


Psalms 16:7-11 The Lord Guides Me

Psalms 16:7-11 NLTse I will bless the LORD who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. (8) I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. (9) No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. (10) For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. (11) You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.

As usual, God and His Word is leading us into a new lesson in Bible Study. When we look back we see how God led us from one lesson, or study rule to another. Prophecies in Genesis showed us how to search for texts in the New Testament showing its fulfillment. Not all texts were found using the same method, but God’s Word showed us all the search methods we’ll have to use when studying His Word. Next the prophecies showed a glimpse or overview of God’s plan of salvation by showing how and why God chose the Levites as His sons and made them priests. Of course God showed us the responsibilities He gave them, and how they were supposed to act in God’s service. Then the prophecies showed how the priests actually acted when they met Jesus the Messiah. It never seemed like God was enough for Israel. We see the message in Exodus when Israel waited for Moses at the base of God’s mountain when they formed their own image of a false god. Next Samuel was not enough for Israel, and neither was God, so they asked for a king. The prophecies showed how kings in Israel made mistakes, forgot God at times, and misled the people. Saul was given the gift of prophecy, but never used it. David had to earn the gift of prophecy and how to use it. David was given more prophecies about Jesus than any other other writer in the Bible, but could he understand their fulfillment? How do we understand what God is teaching us now? This prophecy takes us to a new level of study, based on the fact it is quoted in the New Testament. When it was quoted has a number of spiritual ramifications.

Acts 2:25-31 NLTse King David said this about him: ‘I see that the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. (26) No wonder my heart is glad, and my tongue shouts his praises! My body rests in hope. (27) For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave. (28) You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.’ (29) “Dear brothers, think about this! You can be sure that the patriarch David wasn’t referring to himself, for he died and was buried, and his tomb is still here among us. (30) But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David’s own descendants would sit on his throne. (31) David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah’s resurrection. He was saying that God would not leave him among the dead or allow his body to rot in the grave.

Here we will see Peter quoting on Old Testament text. Paul quoted hundreds of Old Testament texts in the letters he wrote. This quote happens to be a prophecy David recorded. It’s easy to find the fulfillment of the prophecy in Psalms 16:7-11 because Peter does such a good job of quoting it. Peter not only quotes the prophecy, he explains how it’s fulfilled. This is one of the first examples of a prophecy being quoted in the New Testament. Since this is a new lesson, it’s no surprise God helps us along by providing the interpretation. It seems like an easy lesson, but we still need to test both chapters by comparing the introductions and summations. First we need a review of the subject texts itself and the explanation of its fulfillment in Acts 2.

When the key words are highlighted we see three groups. David can see how God is guiding and instructing him. That’s a great point to see when learning how to study the Bible and adds a bit of excitement to the process. Imagine finally being able to see and understand some of the things God showed David and tried to reach him with. It’s no wonder previous lessons showed us some of David’s mistakes. We also see David’s confidence in God. He knows God will always be beside him. This is an important detail to remember. There’s no doubt you’ll see a lot of support and opposition as you share what you’ve learned. One thing I’ve learned from experience is, the more you know about the Bible, the more you’ll seek people at the same level, or with more knowledge. They will be difficult to locate, but be assured, God will send them. The third group of words are contrasts, dead and grave compared to live and living. David’s prayer is about finding eternal life and living with God forever. It seems strange to contrast death with living with God forever. As we’ve seen in other studies – when we see something strange, it’s time to pay attention to details. Some of those details are explained by Peter. “Dear brothers, think about this! You can be sure that the patriarch David wasn’t referring to himself, for he died and was buried, and his tomb is still here among us. But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David’s own descendants would sit on his throne. David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah’s resurrection. He was saying that God would not leave him among the dead or allow his body to rot in the grave.”

It’s nice to see a prophecy so clearly explained. Why do you think God chose such a time to reveal such plain detail in a lesson no one can deny or argue with? What do you think it means? If God reveals one prophecy so clearly, why would He make others difficult to figure out? If you knew God and His timing, you’d know, all the answers are in His Bible – it’s just a matter of time before God flips the switch and thousands all over the world will say, “I never say that before.” Does the lesson only apply to the prophecies about Jesus, or all prophecies? When you think of it, aren’t all the prophecies about Jesus? When you put them into context you’ll be surprised. Now to look at the context to find out how these two chapters are parallel chapters.

Psalms 16:1-6 NLTse Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge. (2) I said to the LORD, “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.” (3) The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them! (4) Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods. I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood or even speak the names of their gods. (5) LORD, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. (6) The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance!

Acts 2:1-8 NLTse On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. (2) Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. (3) Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. (4) And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. (5) At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. (6) When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers. (7) They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, (8) and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages!

How are these introductions related to one another? We’ve already been shown Psalm 16 is a prophecy. When we look at David’s Psalm as a prayer, we see how David makes God his refuge and master. David also acknowledges every good thing comes from God. Then David’s prayer takes a strange turn. What does David mean, godly people in the land are his true heroes? And how does he take pleasure in them? Is David referring to religious people he knows? Why does David go from praising God to people, then suddenly throws in a comment about people chasing other gods? What do we get when we look at David’s prayer as a prophecy and compare it to the introduction to Acts 1?

All the believers meeting in one place relate to David’s prayer where God is a refuge. The disciples meet together in Jerusalem because that’s where Jesus told them to meet. Why would they hide out in Jerusalem when the priests were determined to stamp out all of Jesus’ followers? Jesus had a more important matter for them to attend to. What did the disciples finally learn at Pentecost? What was the lesson Jesus tried to teach them over the years? What lesson did the disciples miss? We know they had no idea why Jesus was on the cross, or that He was going to rise from the grave. Jesus tried to tell them, but they wouldn’t listen. Jesus also tried to teach them how to rely on God’s Spirit like He did. Another lesson the disciples didn’t grasp. David said, ” Every good thing I have comes from God!” Pentecost was the moment the disciples were about to learn how God provides every good thing – through His Spirit. It took a grand show for the disciples to learn. They had to learn. They were the people Jesus trained to take His Word out to the world. David told them not to chase after false gods. What did Jesus tell the disciples not to follow? Didn’t Jesus call the priests doctrine leaven? When we look back at the original Passover, when Israel was told not to eat leaven, we can see how all the details fit together. Before Israel left Egypt, God gave the head of every household the role of priest. This is exactly what happened in the last Passover. When Jesus died and rose from the grave, the priesthood moved from the Levites back to all Jesus’ followers – if and only if – they remove the leaven…. all of it. Jesus’ disciples had to learn to leave the doctrines behind before they could move forward with the GOOD NEWS of salvation through Christ. The disciples had to put away the false gods of doctrine. They also had to lay aside the sacrificial system Christ ended. Pentecost marked a new beginning, a change. God’s followers would no longer rely on a religious order to led them, but learn to rely on a direct connection with God’s Spirit. Like David said; “”You are my Master!” We also follow God by following His Word, guided by His Spirit. Psalms 16:7-11 is the summation and must be compared to the summation in Acts 2.

Acts 2:40-47 NLTse Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!” (41) Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day–about 3,000 in all. (42) All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. (43) A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. (44) And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. (45) They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. (46) They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity– (47) all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

David closed his prayer by telling how God guided and instructed him. Isn’t that what happened to the disciples at Pentecost? The disciples finally learned how to communicate with God’s Spirit. Remember, Jesus also spent forty days retraining the disciples. Yes, Jesus was right beside them. God didn’t leave Jesus in the grave. After His resurrection, Jesus made sure His disciples knew what to teach and how to teach it, so no one would be left in the grave. Jesus and God’s Spirit opened the door to a new understanding of God’s plan of salvation. God’s plan never changed, but finally the world was shown the way of life, granting the joy of His presence and the pleasures of living with God forever.

It feels like graduation day when we come across a study like this. With all the details taught throughout the progression of the prophecies Jesus fulfilled, this study shows how clear God provided the interpretation to His prophecies. Not only is the interpretation clearly given, Peter quoted the prophecy and Luke recorded every detail. It’s amazing to see how God put His book together. The timing is essential. Peter quoted David’s prophecy and provided the proper interpretation on Pentecost, immediately after receiving the Power of God’s Holy Spirit. This illustrates a portion of the power Jesus’ disciples received and continue to receive. Peter had no idea what Psalm 16 was about before he received God’s Spirit. Once he received God’s Spirit, he was able to see how David’s prophecy pointed to Jesus. This was only the beginning. Paul also illustrated his understanding of the prophecies in all his letters. Now it’s up to us to either accept God’s Spirit, or like David said, chase other gods. No one has any idea what kind of information God is holding out to this world. Peter and the other disciples had no idea they were going to look at scripture one day to see everything far different than what they’ve been taught. A lot of people like to speculate on why God’s Spirit appeared to the disciples in the form of a flame. Did anyone ever think the flames showed how God’s Spirit is going to burn away all the old beliefs? Look at the illustration in context. A new religion is started. New beliefs are being introduced along with a new way of teaching and learning. Today few people want to accept, recognize, or understand how or what God’s Spirit is teaching. God’s flames touched each disciple – He is still reaching out today.

Acts 13:32-38 NLTse “And now we are here to bring you this Good News. The promise was made to our ancestors, (33) and God has now fulfilled it for us, their descendants, by raising Jesus. This is what the second psalm says about Jesus: ‘You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.’ (34) For God had promised to raise him from the dead, not leaving him to rot in the grave. He said, ‘I will give you the sacred blessings I promised to David.’ (35) Another psalm explains it more fully: ‘You will not allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.’ (36) This is not a reference to David, for after David had done the will of God in his own generation, he died and was buried with his ancestors, and his body decayed. (37) No, it was a reference to someone else–someone whom God raised and whose body did not decay. (38) “Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins.

Acts 13:1-3 NLTse Among the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch of Syria were Barnabas, Simeon (called “the black man”), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (the childhood companion of King Herod Antipas), and Saul. (2) One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.” (3) So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way.

Acts 13:49-52 NLTse So the Lord’s message spread throughout that region. (50) Then the Jews stirred up the influential religious women and the leaders of the city, and they incited a mob against Paul and Barnabas and ran them out of town. (51) So they shook the dust from their feet as a sign of rejection and went to the town of Iconium. (52) And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.